Thursday, December 6, 2007

What isn't KM

That would sound like a completely uninteresting topic for the post ... on a blog which revolves more or less around KM. But, this is a question which I am thinking about these days. This comes from a scenario like this ... There is a project team, who are all located at a client site, delivering a project. They have weekly team meetings, where they discuss any specific issues which the consultants are facing, and try to arrive at possible solutions to these. This is in addition to the discission on weekly performance metrics, variation from plan, etc. etc.

My question is ... Would we label this team meeting as KM? Maybe yes, I would think. But, you ask the Consultants or the Project Managers, they would disagree. And, this is the crux of the question ... Let be clear on one thing ... Everything requires human knowledge ... The industrial model of the smart manager who gave orders, and the workers who just followed them, and the machine did the rest was flawed. Even operating a machine, much like driving a car, requires human knowledge. Hence, it can be said that everything that we do depends on knowledge. Hence, KM should, by definition be something which pervades other aspects of management. Because, management itself depends on knowledge, and hence ...

And, this is the question that comes in, in the context of the organization ... That, should KM be a part of another initiative within the organization, or whether KM should be treated as a standalone entity? One way, in fact, could be that KM becomes a loose idea, with the exact delivery of the concepts depending on the context in which they are delivered ... So, KM in the context of Six Sigma could be quite a bit different in form, than KM in the context of CRM. I dont quite agree with this model, but having said that, there has to be this linkage between business objectives and KM. Without this, there is the real danger that we end up looking at KM as an end in itself, which is quite an exercise in futility.

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