KM Self Assessment

external image obj38geo38pg1p5.jpgBrief Description

This tool is part of the work of Chris Collison and Geoff Parcell in their book "Learning to Fly: Practical Knowledge Management from Leading and Learning Organizations." The assessment was used at the January 2009 Share Fairin Rome and was found to be of value. We asked Geoff if we could share a copy of the assessment tool and he graciously agreed. What you will find on this page is a brief overview of the process. To learn more, we refer you to the book.


The approach was developed originally in BP for its Operations excellence programme. There were 25 practices and the various operational units rated themselves on a self-assessment matrix. The apporach has since been adapted to knowledge management, response to HIV/ AIDs (see aids, Malaria, Analytical Capability and many other topics.

When to use

When you wish to know what knowledge to share and learn. It provides a common language and framework for a meaningful exchange. The tool can also be used as part of a Knowledge Audit within an organization.

How to use

The general instructions for this tool are to self evaluate on using the KM Self Assessment Matrix (below) and then use the results to either have internal discussions, or share with other related organizations and partners. The self assessment asks you to look at KM Strategy, Leadership Behavior, Networking, Learning Before-During-and-After, and Capturing Knowledge. You evaluate yourself/organization across 5 levels, from "awareness" to "the way we work." The value is in the conversation rather than ticking the boxes. Particularly when there are different perceptions as this teases out good practice and how unevenly distributed the competence is.

An additional step you can take is to visualize the results. The River Diagram is a powerful way to illustrate the sources of good practice amongst the groups or departments completing the self-assessment, and to stimulate the transfer of knowledge and good practice. The blue of the river marks the spread from highest to lowest scores across the groups. The green banks illustrate where no one has scored. If an individual groups scores show blue river above then there is potential ofor them to learn from other groups. Conversely if there is blue river below their score then they can share with others at a lower level of competence. Usually everyone has something to learn and everyone has something to share. While each groups set of current scores are likely to be differnt the shape of the river will remain the same. For a practice where no group scores highly, then it suggests some outside intervention is required to raise the overall level of competence.

Tips and Lessons Learnt

The focus is on self assessment rather than assessing others. It ensures ownership of the issue and ownership of the actions to build competence.

Examples & Stories

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  • At the Share Fair, various KM leaders from participating organizations did the self-assessment, then the group compared and discussed their results. Talk in the room included surprise at both the positive or negative views about an organization's self assessment, and a growing understanding about how to strategically grow and apply KM skills in the organizations.
  • IFAD does KM Self-Assessments part 1, part 2and part 3

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Related Methods / Tools / Practices



assessment, evaluation, capacity_building

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