How to Develop a Successful KM Strategy (Part 2)

David Kamien

David Kamien

David is the CEO and co-founder of Mind-Alliance Systems and he has the overall responsibility for Mind-Alliance’s vision, market direction, product strategy, and operations.


In Part 1 of “How to Develop a Successful Knowledge Management Strategy” we discussed the goals organizations commonly have to create a KM strategy and the importance of starting with a study that reveals the current state of KM in the organization. This post outlines a process for developing a KM and Collaboration Strategy, a Portfolio of Solution Approaches, and an Implementation Plan. 

The first step is to define a vision and set of strategic objectives, informed by the findings from the Phase 1 study of the “as-is” state of KM. This vision often is about why the organization wants to harness the power of better information sharing and collaboration, knowledge management, learning, and innovation. Each organization has a unique perspective about how this will enable it to deliver greater impact through enhanced decision making and organizational performance.

The Seminar

These strategic objectives can be discussed and formulated at a seminar with key stakeholders. Be sure to prepare for such a seminar and to inform the design and implementation of solution approaches by benchmarking and drawing on best practices based on data and a cumulative body of knowledge on what works, under what conditions, why, and how.

A key output from this seminar should be a high-level prioritized portfolio of projects (policies, processes, technology, and training) and solution approaches for addressing the Phase 1 issues and objectives.

Design Delivery, Governance, Accountability and Incentive Structures

To assist in the planning of each project, we have developed Project Implementation Templates...

The next step is to design delivery, governance, accountability, and incentive structures for projects and approaches. We recommend that each project group involve at least one of the individuals who expressed the issue that the approach is supposed to address. To assist in the planning of each project, we have developed Project Implementation Templates to be used by the approach teams. Each section of the template has specific questions that should be answered about the project regarding goals, issues addressed, assumptions and risks, stakeholders, budget/resources, impact on existing processes/workflow, IT needed, performance metrics, training/learning, change management, dependencies with other projects, and others.

Important Other Sections

The approaches make up a significant portion of your strategy, but there are equally important sections to prepare:

  • Performance Metrics - Rigorously define the outcomes sought, the expected results, and the measures of success for the KM strategy.
  • Evaluation - Determine, track, and report measures of performance for the selected solution approaches and projects. Define specific metrics, data-gathering methods, and reporting frequency.
  • Risk Assessment - Identify and define mitigations for the key risks to successfully implementing the KM Strategy. 
  • Change Management - Develop a Change Management Plan that addresses executive leadership, change communication, and incentives needed to foster the desired new behaviors. Create business cases and get executive management approval for solutions.
  • Training/Learning - Generate a Capacity Building Model for the organization. Specify required KM and collaboration competencies. Conduct job analyses to determine if there is a need for new roles or if the current workforce can absorb additional workload. Develop a Training & Learning program concept and learning solutions for managers and employees. Schedule training for relevant employees.
  • Structures, Governance, and Management - Create a standard operations manual for the KM Office. Clarify the defined roles for the KM program officers, interactions between stakeholders, issues to be addressed, and the solutions (systems and operational behaviors) that knowledge, learning, and innovation policies are meant to foster.
    Typical solutions we design include:
    • Dashboards
    • Websites (e.g., learning centers)
    • Processes for intelligence fusion centers and knowledge helpdesks
    • Leadership training seminars
    • Knowledge bases
    • Expert networks
    • Predictive analytic models
    • Online collaboration systems
    • Management notification protocols
    • Glossaries (e.g., controlled vocabularies of KM-relevant terms)
    • Job descriptions
    • Training & Learning Programs

Once these key areas have been defined and gone through feedback loops with stakeholders and executive management, you are ready to begin implementation of your new KM Strategy.

In Part 3 of this series, we will discuss some of key elements that need to be present in order for your KM Strategy implementation to be successful.