Designing the Knowledge Management Team

Abstract: Teams in IT projects have traditionally involved two parties: end users and IT staff. However, for a knowledge management system, teams need to be more comprehensive to be effective. A knowledge management system is built on expertise, knowledge, understanding, skills, and insights brought into the project by a variety of stakeholders who might have little in common from a functional standpoint. The quality of the collaborative relationship between these stakeholders determines the ultimate success of the system. Having the world’s best knowledge management system still does not guarantee successful management of knowledge: That success comes from KM’s implementation and cultural embodiment by both the knowledge workers and the employees who will ultimately use it. This relationship is complex and often highly problematic;[1] Therefore, selecting the right blend of team members to lead the knowledge management project is a critical step.

The fifth step on the KM roadmap involves design of the knowledge management team that will build, implement, focus, and deploy the KM system. In this chapter, we identify sources of internal and external expertise needed, prioritize stakeholder needs, evaluate member selection criteria, and examine team life span and sizing issues. We identify characteristics of the KM project leader to determine mechanisms to streamline internal dynamics and maximize users’ participation. Next, we identify tasks for the KM team and fit them to the risk evaluation matrix to circumvent common points of failure.


  • Design the KM team.
  • Identify sources of requisite expertise.
  • Identify critical points of failure: requirements, control, management buy-in, and end user buy-in.
  • Structure the knowledge management team: organizationally, strategically, and technologically.
  • Balance technical and managerial expertise, manage stakeholder expectations.
  • Resolve team-sizing issues.

Amrit Tiwana: Designing the KM Team. in: Tiwana, A.: The Knowledge Management Toolkit. Practical Techniques for Building a Knowledge Management System. Prentice Hall, 2000: 272-291 (Chapter 9).

Copyright © by Prentice Hall.

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