We all know about the knowledge cycle
but how many of us actually address the last aspect of that cycle systematically?
Looking back to when I worked in know how within a law firm, I have to admit my approach to retiring knowledge documents was pretty haphazard. There were always so many other matters that had a higher priority and I was always a little worried about deleting stuff that may come in handy.
A few thoughts to help you with retiring documents and knowledge artefacts:
- For all new documents, decide upon realistic review and destruction dates at the outset. Create a standard process and you’ll be more likely to take action.
- Some databases allow you to automatically set a removal date, but many people are wary of automating this.
- Share out responsibility for checking compliance, relevance and usage of documents/artefacts. It won’t be such a burden if it is shared. And some people would far rather edit and review than create something new or run a training session, so you can help them to reach their knowledge activity targets in the way that suits them best.
- Ensure you are compliant with relevant regulations – something may no longer be useful, but are you required to keep it for any reason? Similarly, does this document/artefact comply with GDPR requirements? If not, can you adapt it/consent it, so it complies or should you delete straightaway?
- Breaking the task into smaller/monthly chunks will make it much easier than having a once-a-year clear out.
- Worried someone might need a document/artefact later? Cache it for a while and see what happens. If no one has asked for it a year later, you have your answer!
How do you handle the “destruction” aspect of the knowledge cycle? Any top tips to share?
And if you are interested in Knowledge fundamentals, come along to one of my foundation courses (KM: The Works).
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My latest blog post for Legal Futures on Knowledge Loss.
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We had an excellent session last week by Duncan Ogilvy and Sally Roberts of 3Kites all about intranets, in particular how law firm KMers can work to improve the usability of their knowledge databases and intranets.
We covered too much to write it all down here, but, for me, the top three themes were
- Focus on business issues –
- this applies across the board, but in particular when
- you are building the business case for investment – an upgrade or replacement to an existing system can be harder to gain approval for than the first investment
- assigning responsibilities and considering governance
- considering mobile usage
- you are looking at/thinking about usage
- you might need to focus on negative aspects (risk especially), as well as positive business benefits (speed, productivity, attracting talent, “anywhere” productivity)
- Get the fundamentals right and go for simplicity
- a single “front door” and make it a spring board to everything else
- simple design and navigation – make it easy to scan and find things quickly
- trusted information
- make it essential rather than useful
- focus on helping people with their “day jobs”
- Plan for keeping it updated
- keeping things up-to-date is essential to ensure trust, but doing this manually is a tonne of work, so
- automate what you can
- avoid duplication of effort – what can be fed in from other systems?
- have a governance policy and spread the load – the KM team can’t be responsible for updating everything, the responsibility must be shared.
There was a lot more: discussions about the pros and cons of federated and enterprise search; how DMS will change once AI improves search; how mobile sites can differ from main sites to work better; how intranets can effect positive culture change; how to get a llama off a train… Too much to write down here.
If you are after a bit more info, I’ve written about intranets before and collected some useful links here.
Massive thanks to Sally and Duncan for sharing their expertise and thanks to Veale Wasbrough Vizards who hosted at the last minute following unforeseen technical problems at our original host firm. If anyone would like to get in touch with Sally and Duncan to discuss this further, their contact details are here – https://www.3kites.com/
As Steve Jobs said “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology, not the other way around.”
The technology is an important facilitator but business needs of the users are the priority.
If you enjoyed reading this, think about joining an existing group or helping me to start a new Knowledge Network in your city. There are existing groups in Bristol and Birmingham, and a “nearly” group in Manchester (not quite enough interest yet) and some interest for a group in Reading. Get in touch if you’d like to get one started near you.
Knowledge Lawyers, Professional Support Lawyers and Practice Development Lawyers are expensive resources. Organisations, therefore, must ensure that they work effectively and efficiently.
They can encourage this by investing in their training, in particular their training in the theory and practice of Knowledge Management, as well as in their area of legal expertise.
Training and learning can come in many forms. A training programme needs to cover the basics and also give opportunities for life-long learning.
An away-day can provide an excellent opportunity to ensure everyone is up to date on the latest thinking and provide opportunities for building internal support networks.
A series of workshops throughout the year is another great way to build expertise, allowing for opportunities to reflect and implement ideas in between events.
However you deliver your core training, you will need to supplement it with group discussion, mentoring, coaching and opportunities for reflective learning in order to embed knowledge and provide support.
How can I help? I can simply run a single training session for you or I can arrange an away-day or annual programme and source the right speakers from my network (and anything in between).
For more info, see below.
Training and Learning 2018