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First Great Book of Best Practices for Knowledge Management
on 27 May 2004
Although knowledge management is an irresistible concept, your progress in this area is anything but assurred. Knowledge management is a hot topic, but it is usually pushed by people who want to sell you something. As a result, you can end up with a lot of technology that will not help you to manage your knowledge. As insurance against getting started in the wrong direction, I suggest you read Working Knowledge as a first step.
Davenport and Prusak have examined 39 organizations that are well above average users of their knowledge. The case histories will give you a practical sense of what works that would take you years of false steps to duplicate in your organization.
Then, even more helpfully, the authors outline the key lessons of these top performers for you to follow. I especially recommend chapter 9 on The Pragmatics of Knowledge Management.
Any new initiative will run into problems and fall back. A great book to read next is The Dance of Change, which focuses squarely on that issue.
Any book has to narrow its focus to be successful. That focus creates a vulnerability. In this book, the vulnerability is not looking far enough ahead for more effective ways to do knowledge management that no one is yet doing. For example, the potential to share knowledge among top best practice organizations is enormous. More attention is needed here.
But do buy, read, and apply the lessons of this book. It's a great place to start!