Wednesday, 22 February 2017

How to identify, select and plan a KM pilot project

I've blogged before about using 'pilot projects' to introduce knowledge management (KM) into an organisation.  That post (here) explained their use in terms of building support for KM and thereby slowly changing the culture. 

KM pilot project seeks to introduce and combine a number of KM elements to address a specific business problem.  This has two key benefits:
  • It enables the wider KM implementation effort to trial, test and adjust KM framework elements before rolling them out to the entire organisation, thereby minimising disruption and cost;
  • It alleviates problems and wins further investment from senior management, as well as creating 'good news' stories with which KM can be sold to the wider organisation as part of a communications plan.
Let's now look at how we might identify, select and plan such a project.  Since we at Knoco currently have 4 clients at various stages of this process, I thought this would be worth exploring....

First off, run a workshop at which current business issues can be discussed and a shortlist of viable pilots selected.  The following steps might come in handy:
  • Send out calling notice across the organisation, inviting functional leads and/or senior managers to present and discuss their current 'pain points' - a rough agenda at this stage;
  • Book venue, facilitator, workshop 'stuff' (i.e. flipcharts, post-its, pens etc.);
  • Send out confirmatory notice, with a finalised agenda;
  • Suggested workshop agenda:
    • Introductions - of one another
    • Introduction to knowledge management (KM) - to create a common understanding
    • KM tools, processes, approaches - to show what KM elements involve and achieve
    • KM case-studies - to demonstrate how KM alleviates problems and creates value
    • Presentations - each team or department describes their current issues 
    • Discussion - combinations of KM elements are suggested for each problem, for example:
Having identified a number of areas where KM might help, a system of voting and selection is needed to enable a KM pilot project to be planned.  This can happen at the above workshop or afterwards, based on written-up notes etc.  Methods may vary, but a number of criteria should be considered to enable each potential pilot to be judged fairly.  The following are suggestions only - there will be others:
  • Business impact
    • Is knowledge a key factor in delivering business performance?
    • Will the impact of the knowledge be demonstrated in a short enough time?
  • Business advocacy
    • Is there a local business sponsor?
    • Will there be a local person accountable for the delivery of the KM project?
  • Transferability and reach
    • Do cross-business customers exist for the knowledge gained from the project?
    • Will the knowledge and learnings from the project have strategic potential for growth?
  • Feasibility
    • Can we make time/space for people to work on the project?
    • Do we have enough skilled KM resources available?
Each potential pilot project can be awarded scores against each of these criteria, with the highest 3 shortlisted for further scope definition and a GO/NO GO decision from senior management.

Having selected a KM pilot project, we must now plan it.  This will require a number of in-depth conversations with key stakeholders, to understand fully the current business context and then formalise a planned response.

The output from these inter-actions will be terms of reference document and implementation plan, covering:
  • Context - why is this happening?
  • Scope - what is included?  What is not?
  • Stakeholders - who's involved?
  • Governance - who's in charge?
  • Approach - how do we do this?
  • Resources - who can help?
  • Costs - how much?
  • Schedule - when and in what order?
  • Deliverables - what will we have to show for our efforts?
  • Benefits - how much value will we create?
  • Metrics - how do we measure success?
The costs and benefits can be presented in a business case, which is a discrete activity in its own right and which I will examine in greater depth in another post.

For a conversation about knowledge management pilot projects, or about anything to do with KM, please contact me direct or via the Knoco website.

No comments:

Post a Comment