Knowing your Knowledge Management

We have been using Athlassians Confluence wiki in my workplace and it has been a huge success in my workplace. Jira is coming around very nicely as well. So I think we have come a long way over the last year or so in integrating these tools and standards into many of our work processes and documentation needs.

One of the fascinating aspects of Knowledge Management is that the strategy we choose both says something about our organization, but also about the future direction we’re pacing it in. Because one of the effects of a KM strategy is that it affects how we access and execute tasks. Relying on externalized, codified, knowledge such as the Knowledge Assets you’re mentioning, is by many researchers found to be ideal for contexts where the ‘workforce’ primarily are implementers and not inventors. Tacit, personalized, knowledge on the other hand is a characteristic of organizations which build highly customized and individual products.Hence codification supports rework (formalization) whereas personalization tends to favor innovation.
There is a cost associated with creating a Knowledge Asset, but also several benefits, one of these is that you’re going through the process of preparing your knowledge to be used by others. A drawback is of course that you’re not necessary ensured that it will be accessed by others, or duplicated in a similar setting, and you could loose the personal interaction that you would have to go through if you relied solely on personalized knowledge. Luckily our tools provide sufficient traceability so we can pretty easy identify the originator of the knowledge.

We should consider if we have chosen the correct KM strategy reflecting both our customers needs and requirements and our organizational context (being distributed/dispersed over several countries and offices). And whether we provide sufficient support for creativity but also if we can gain further improvements from other collaboration tools. Google just opened up Wave for beta testers, which could turn out pretty interesting.

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