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Converting Knowledge Items - Quantity vs. Quality

1 April 2011
Galit Lieber
A person using a tablet

The project to replace the organization's knowledge management system involves investing significant resources: financial, technological, intellectual, workforce, and time. The project is managed using a Gantt chart containing stages and timelines: initiation and need identification, specification, development, knowledge item conversion, pilot, and launch.

Each stage is time-bound, and the aim is to adhere to the timeline as much as possible. However, the timeline may change for various reasons (for example, development delays).

The knowledge item conversion stage is critical in the project, as it is the stage where attention is given to the content and not just the packaging: the amount of content, its currentness, and how it is presented to the user. But despite its great importance, the conversion stage may get swallowed up in the development and launch stages or be overshadowed by them, as it falls between them in terms of the project's timelines - between the desire to present a smart and innovative system (development) and the desire to launch it as quickly as possible (launch).

Time pressure, delays, and bugs in development may come at a high price, preferring the number of knowledge items in the new system over their quality.

  1. The conversion stage needs to be well-planned, considering the time available, to maintain the right balance between the quantity and quality of knowledge items. Here are some tips for planning the conversion stage: Validate and refine existing knowledge items to get a picture of their quantity and quality.

  2. Checking the number of items for conversion - the priority is for valid items with high view counts (RATING).

  3. Combining automatic conversion with manual conversion:

    1. With automatic conversion, the advantage is conversion speed; the disadvantage is the item's appearance: the content is transferred to the new information item without headings and editing and needs to be manually adjusted to the new template.

    2. With manual conversion, the opposite is true—the advantage is the item's appearance, which is given fresh thought and edited according to the new template. The disadvantage is that a long time is required for conversion, and a dedicated workforce is often needed for the process.

  4. The skilled workforce should be allocated solely for conversion, without the need to combine it with routine work (which will always be a higher priority).

  5. Minimizing (as much as possible) the duration of working on two systems in parallel. (Working on two systems is required to maintain item currentness: both the existing system is still in use, and the new system, where the information has already been entered but has yet to be launched, must be updated).

In summary, it is recommended that the conversion be performed in parallel with the development stage and integrated with routine activities.

  • Refrain from succumbing to time pressure and maintain the quality of knowledge items.

  • Focus on the organization's core items and leave less essential items for last.

  • Prefer quality over quantity, even at the cost of uploading only 90% of the information.

  • Prepare an orderly work plan to be carried out after launching the new system to convert missing information.

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