In my current book on promoting knowledge management initiatives within the corporate world, I offer a collection of practical tips and techniques that can help your KM program thrive. High performing communities are essential to KM success. I have developed 10 principles for KM practitioners to keep in mind as they build and participate in communities.
10 Principles for Successful Communities
- Communities should be independent of organizational structure; they are built around areas upon which members wish to interact.
- Communities are different from teams; they are based on topics, not on assignments.
- Communities are not sites, team spaces, blogs or wikis; they are groups of people who choose to interact.
- Community leadership and membership should be voluntary; you can suggest that people join, but should not force them to.
- Communities should span boundaries; they should cross functions, organizations, and geographic locations.
- Minimize redundancy in communities; before creating a new one, check if an existing community already addresses the topic.
- Communities need critical mass; take steps to build membership.
- Communities should start with as broad a scope as is reasonable; separate communities can be spun off if warranted.
- Communities need to be actively nurtured; community leaders need to create, build, and sustain communities.
- Communities can be created, led, and supported using TARGET:
Types (TRAIL – Topic, Role, Audience, Industry, Location)
Activities (SPACE – Subscribe, Post, Attend, Contribute, Engage)
Requirements (SMILE – Subject, Members, Interaction, Leaders, Enthusiasm)
Goals (PATCH – Participation, Anecdotes, Tools, Coverage, Health)
Expectations (SHAPE – Schedule, Host, Answer, Post, Expand)
Tools (SCENT – Site, Calendar, Events, News, Threads).
Planning a KM initiative includes determining who will participate, which processes and tools are required, and how tools should be integrated.
Starting a KM program includes defining participants and roles, which basic processes are required, and how tools should support people and processes.
Knowledge managers should enlist support from top leaders in order to ensure the success of a KM implementation; 10 commitments to ask for
KM guru Stan Garfield provides specific examples of challenges and opportunities and how to turn them into knowledge management program objectives.