How to Use KPIs in Knowledge Management

I’ve always been wary of KPIs in knowledge management, because they appeal to a tangible measurement mindset that is easily distracted from the intangible and hard-to-pin down outcomes of KM efforts. I can’t tell you how may implementations I’ve seen where the measurements are diligently gathered and presented as tokens of success (number of documents, number of contributions, number of sharing sessions) when behind the metrics facade, the KM culture and rich sharing habits are as dead as a doornail.

But KPIs, used intelligently alongside “softer” evaluation techniques, do enable you to monitor progress and health in relation to your expectations as you move along your KM journey. And changes or spikes in activity or output trends can signal a need to investigate deeper. So if you take the KPIs with a big pinch of salt and remember you always have to interpret them, they can be a perfectly legitimate tool. So I sat down and wrote this guide to using KPIs.

The paper is in three sections: the first sets out some guidelines for how to use KPIs smartly. The second section gives ideas for sample sets of KPIs covering KM activities and tools as diverse as communities of practice, KM roles, and use of wikis and blogs. The third section is a template for drawing up your own sets of KPIs. The document is in Word format so you can cut and paste whatever takes your fancy (please acknowledge your source). A last word of caution: if you take the whole set of KPIs in this document, you’re taking too many! Leave some time and effort to actually do the work you’re trying to monitor.

Read the guide

1 Comment so far


as a new parent, i learnt a thing or two about myself… smile one of it is how sensitive i was to quantitative measures, despite knowing that numbers can often be misleading… just two examples:

1. i know that when a child has fever, the most important sign to watch out is whether he/she is active compare to when he/she is healthy. but deep inside i always trust the thermoteter more. (btw, it doesn’t mean that thermometer is not essential either, especially when your child is asleep)...
2. the second exmaple is better: i know that when a child has eaten enough, he/she will stop; if not he/she will ask for more. that’s practiced perfectly when we breastfeed our little one. but once we started her on bottle, the whole mentality changed… we started to decide how much milk she should have, and very determine for her to finish the feed.

what can we say about that, i am not sure… the extent to which numbers can affect a person’s decision making differs one individual to another; but i do believe that it does instill a sense of firm ground whenever numbers are presented.

Posted on September 09, 2007 at 11:15 AM | Comment permalink

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