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Traffic-lighting your knowledge

1 October 2018
Traffic light

A central challenge to Knowledge Management in organizations stems from our field relating to a wide variety of organizational and interfacial processes and the face that our work is never complete.


  1. There are many KM needs in organizations

  2. Organizational Knowledge Management doesn't depend solely on us; there are many parties in the organization which "hold" the organizational knowledge. The more we act the greater our chances to advance despite our dependency on others.

So, how can we manage our rate of progress in the organization?

Enter what I like to call "the traffic light method".

The "traffic light method" enables us to review and visually prioritize the subjects that require our handling by "painting" items either red, yellow or green. Our objective is composed of two related sub-goals:

  1. Locate risks and bottlenecks in KM projects/tasks

  2. Present us with a visual and easily applicable update that presents us with our rate of progress.

Implementation stages:

  1. At the beginning of each month, write down which organizational KM projects/tasks are relevant this month.

  2. "traffic-light" the criteria according to their grades:

    1. Grade each criterion from 1-5

    2. 1-2: red; 3: yellow;4-5: green

  3. We can now review our visual update:

    1. Tasks colored green are tasks that are progressing well; this progress must only be maintained;

    2. Tasks colored yellow require paying attention, focusing and determining which points require improvement in order to turn them 'green'. Try asking yourself and your partners what can lead them to turning the tasks green, as a small change can simply lead to the "green lane";

    3. Tasks colored red are essentially being bottlenecked and require a workplan: try to focus the bottlenecks, specify the risks of this project, examine what can be operated to promote the project. Keep close tabs on the project and its rate of progress throughout the entire month. Hopefully, by next month this project/task will be colored yellow.

In conclusion, Knowledge Management is a field with a clear starting point yet is constantly growing and developing and is therefore limitless. This is the challenge we face as knowledge managers in organizations. Stop once a month and "traffic-light" your tasks. Use this simple visual tool that is also featured in the field of risk management or 'dashboards' also used in BI to promote Knowledge Management simple efficiently.

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