Effective knowledge management depends on community-building and collaboration: pulling together everyone’s information and experience in a usable format enables each individual to benefit from the shared body of knowledge.
At Tesla, we believe that if an effort is going to be successful, you have to track it. How do you track a knowledge community’s health? What metrics give you insight into the benefits of collaboration?
Quantitative metrics of a healthy knowledge community can include:
- Number of participants in the community and how often they contribute
- Number of resources from pulled from the community to complete a product, and an aggregated average of community-sourced resources per product
- The number of projects completed with the collaborative community
- The number of participants in your knowledge community around each subject area
- The amount of information and growth of your knowledge base over time
These metrics can provide a topline overview of community health, especially when tracked over time to see how your community is evolving. The raw data, however, doesn’t tell the whole story. To build a more nuanced understanding of how your community is operating, you need to put these in context.
Qualitative metrics can contextualize the raw numbers by showing the IMPACT that collaboration has on your organization’s mission, and how it’s helping you meet your goals.
Some qualitative metrics to pay attention to are:
- Did a collaboration result in a big win for the organization and its stakeholders? What was the outcome?
- Did a briefing to a senior official or cabinet-level official include information from the community that is outside their normal chain of reporting?
- Do the participants feel excited to participate in the community? When you interact, are they active and engaged or are they disconnected just “checking a box”?
- Has the community been recognized by external stakeholders as a “go to” source? Is there a recognition of the community’s expertise by others?
Ultimately, these qualitative metrics come down to having success stories that highlight the health of your community in action.
Choosing the metrics that are right for you depends on the strategic goals of your organization, and aligning your metrics with your objectives is critical to the success of your knowledge community.
For example, if your organization is focused on an extremely narrow or specific subject, measuring the number of information contributors may not provide much valuable information. Identify your organization’s objectives, then think about the information gaps or deficiencies that occur in trying to meet them. Pick the metrics that measure how the community is doing on filling those gaps.
Metrics are only part of building a healthy knowledge community. Success depends on considering all stakeholders and being honest about what works for everyone… It’s probably a combination of multiple tools, communication methods, and metrics.
When it comes to building a community and driving engagement, it often makes sense to bring in a third party who is focused on impartially evaluating the community and ensuring you have healthy collaboration. Community managers are experts in engaging, nurturing, and measuring the community so that everyone gets value, and the community itself is continuously improving. An added benefit of offloading the mental burden, and time required to make it happen, is that you are now free to focus on your mission and not its knowledge management.
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If you decide you need an external party to head up the collaboration (or you just want to pick our brains), let’s talk! We love finding ways to bring people together, advancing critical missions through smarter collaboration.
Collaboration CAN be hard. We make it easy.
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