Knowledge management

I have long been a proponent of knowledge management – documenting insights, experiences and lessons learnt so that we don’t reinvent the wheel. In most cases, organizations and individuals tend to forget the lessons learnt in the past…

Over the last two decades or so, with the advent of enhanced document, content and metadata management solutions (ERP, PDM, PLM, Sharepoint, etc.) organizations have been able to document their best practices and lessons learnt to enable faster collaboration, innovation and problem solving.

There have been challenges such as the (1) need to classify and tag knowledge,(2) the need to clearly document experiences so that relative newcomers can come up to speed, (3) ability to search and find relevant data amongst thousands of documents (4) enforce creators and audiences of knowledge sharing to use the knowledge management system and positive value over time.

I was surprised to read an article on “When Knowledge Management Hurts” from An excerpt from this page “The advice to derive from this research? Shut down your expensive document databases; they tend to do more harm than good. They are a nuisance, impossible to navigate, and you can’t really store anything meaningful in them anyway, since real knowledge is quite impossible to put onto a piece of paper.”

I dug a little deeper and found “Does Knowledge Sharing Deliver on Its Promises?” from This article clearly identified some of the shortcomings and listed some reasons why! The key takeaways from this article (my $0.02) are:
The first key implication is that it is unsafe to assume that more knowledge sharing is always better.
The second key implication is that it unsafe to assume that the net effects of using even the right type of knowledge are always positive. Instead, the design of a project team affects its ability to achieve the desired advantages of knowledge sharing.

As long as we continue to generate data, we should be able to leverage this! This will mean that users, employees and organizations will need to step back and understand the value in maintaining knowledge and experience within their boundaries and implement steps to capture, share and use knowledge effectively.

"Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed here are my own only and in no way represent the views, positions or opinions - expressed or implied - of my employer (present and past) "
"Please post your comments - Swati Ranganathan"


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