KM Component 10 – KM Goals and Measurements

Stan Garfield

Stan Garfield

May 27, 2021

KM goals and measurements include targets included in employee performance plans and metrics to track performance against those goals and other operational indicators. 

Each member of the organization should have three simple knowledge-related goals that are easy to remember, straightforward to measure, and consistent with the top 3 objectives. You should define personal goals, organizational targets, how employees will be measured, and how progress will be reported.

Once you have defined three basic goals for employees, stick to them for at least a year. Have the senior executive communicate the goals to everyone in the organization. Report progress against the goals in all communication vehicles. Recognize and reward those who exemplify excellence in each goal.


Here are three sets of examples of knowledge goals tailored to individuals.

Software Company

  1. Contribute a reusable code module to the repository.
  2. Publish a white paper.
  3. Lead a community of practice.

Research & Development Firm

  1. Reuse a proven practice.
  2. Serve as an expert in the ask the expert program.
  3. Submit a lesson learned.

Consulting Firm

  1. Join a community of practice.
  2. Reuse a proposal for a customer.
  3. Collaborate using a team space.

Here are examples of how these goals can be measured overall for the organization.

Software Company

  1. Contribute a reusable code module to the repository: number of modules submitted; number of unique contributors divided by number of employees.
  2. Publish a white paper: number of white papers published; number of unique contributors divided by number of employees.
  3. Lead a community of practice: number of community leaders; number of unique community leaders divided by number of senior-level employees.

Research & Development Firm

  1. Reuse a proven practice: number of proven practice documents downloaded; reported value of reused proven practices as reported in user surveys.
  2. Serve as an expert in the ask the expert program: number of participating experts; number of unique experts divided by number of senior-level employees.
  3. Submit a lesson learned: number of lessons learned submitted; number of unique contributors divided by number of employees.

Consulting Firm

  1. Join a community of practice: number of unique community members; number of unique community members divided by number of employees.
  2. Reuse a proposal for a customer: number of proposals downloaded; number of new proposals with reused content divided by number of new proposals.
  3. Collaborate using a team space; number of team spaces created; number of unique team space users divided by number of employees.


When communicating the individual goals, spell out what each goal means in detail. Here is an example for a systems integration firm.

We’ve set individual goals for all of the employees in the company. Everyone should have these goals in their annual performance plans.

The first goal is participation, which means being an active member of at least one community and participating in that community’s threaded discussion. This means asking questions, answering questions, and otherwise sharing your insights with members of that community.

Goal number two is capture, which means capturing the content and experience from the bids and projects which we work on. This includes such things as project summaries, lessons learned, proven practices, white papers, bid documents, and project deliverables.

And the third goal is reuse, which means reusing content and experience from bids and projects, including sales collateral, service guides, project documents, software source code.

Performance Appraisals

At the end of the performance review cycle, it’s useful to provide a tool for employees to use to gather data to use in their review discussions. It can prompt them to summarize their community, capture, and reuse activities. And it can link to online sources of data to back up their claims.

The following questions can be used as prompts for reviews. 

  1. Did you have knowledge management goals for this past year? If yes, what where they?
  2. How many hours did you charge as KM time during the year, and what were the most important items you produced during those hours?
  3. Which communities did you participate in? For each community, were you a leader/co-leader, a frequent contributor, an occasional contributor, or a reader/listener?
  4. Which threaded discussions did you subscribe to? How many postings and replies did you contribute during the fiscal year?
  5. What content did you submit to repositories?
  6. What content did you reuse from repositories?
  7. Did you have other significant KM achievements during the year?
  8. How did your KM activity benefit you, the organization, and your clients?
  9. Are there colleagues whose knowledge sharing helped you and as a result you would like to acknowledge their help for their performance reviews?
  10. Are there colleagues who will acknowledge the help you provided to them through knowledge sharing?

Measurement and Reporting

Goal-oriented measurements are one of the three types of metrics. They relate to employee goals and allow assessment against those goals.

Collecting and reporting on goal-oriented measurements ensures that the organization is aware of how it is performing and that individuals can be held accountable for achieving their goals. Reports should be produced and distributed every month to track progress, reinforce good performance, and encourage improvements where needed.

Reporting metrics by group within the organization, for example, regions of the world or countries within a region, allows each group to compare its performance against other groups, and create a friendly competition to excel. Reporting metrics by individual may be limited by data privacy laws, and if allowed, transmitted confidentially to the manager for use in performance coaching and appraisals.

Track and communicate progress against goals. Report on how the organization is doing in a monthly report, and inspect and discuss progress (or the lack thereof) in management team meetings.

Updating Goals

If the behavior associated with a goal becomes institutionalized, consider replacing that goal with a new one. For example, when I led the HP KM program, the original goals were:

  1. Communities of Practice – All employees should belong to and regularly participate in at least one community, and more than one if appropriate.
  2. Project Team Collaboration – All project teams should collaborate using Microsoft SharePoint.
  3. Submit a project profile for each project that we bid on, win, and deliver
  4. Before beginning any new project, search the Project Profile Repository to find out where we have done something similar in the past, and reuse as much content as possible from previous projects.
  5. Knowledge Briefs – Employees should submit and download knowledge briefs regularly

After the first year, the project team collaboration goal had been achieved, and use of SharePoint team sites had become the standard way for project teams to collaborate. As a result, we removed that goal, and also reduced the number of goals from five to three. The new goals were:

  1. Participation: Actively participate in at least one community of practice, with special focus on subscribing and posting to threaded discussion.
  2. Capture: Capture content and experience from bids and projects (project profiles, lessons learned reports, bid/project documents, solution collateral/service kit content, and knowledge briefs).
  3. Reuse: Reuse content and experience in bids and projects (solution collateral and service kit content, lessons learned reports, bid/project documents, and knowledge briefs)

The measurements for these goals were:

  1. Participation: The number of employees who participate in threaded discussions (subscriptions, postings, website visits), divided by the total number of employees.
  2. Capture: The number of new project profiles in the Project Profile Repository, divided by the number of new projects.
  3. Reuse: The average amount of reuse reported in new project profiles, averaging Bid & Delivery.
Stan Garfield

Stan Garfield

Please read Stan’s additional blog posts offering advice and insights drawn from many years as a KM practitioner. You may also want to download a copy of his book, Proven Practices for Implementing a Knowledge Management Program, from Lucidea Press.  And learn about Lucidea’s Inmagic Presto and SydneyEnterprise with KM capabilities to support successful knowledge curation and sharing.

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