Agile Principles and KM

I am struggling a little bit with scheduling at the SLA 2020 conference, but decided to dive in and try watching a pre-recorded session after watching the opening remarks live.

Applying Agile Principles to Ensure the Success of Your KM Strategy by Guillermo Galdamez

Agile is often cited as a requirement in various job descriptions, so I thought this would be a good session to attend. Also, it was listed as a 15 minute session. Since I had to be bright-eyed and bushy tailed at the crack of dawn (East Coast time is being used for the conference while I am on West Coast time) for the opening remarks, I thought a short pre-recorded session would work.

Guillermo’s session was very helpful and I think there are things I can take with me to my next opportunity.

One of his most helpful slides was the cost of not having KM in your organization:

  • Impeded decision making
    • Creating information anew doesn’t always provide the full picture
  • Knowledge loss when employees depart
  • Slower learning, upskilling
    • People don’t know who has specific skills, knows the institutional history or where to find training, so an employee has to recreate the skillset, which takes time.
  • Productivity loss
    • this can come in the form of sending an email for some information and having to wait for that information
    • It can also be that the information cannot be found, so the employee has to recreate it. This takes time when they could be working on something else.
  • Inconsistent and incomplete information
  • Limited innovation and strategic thinking
  • Ineffective collaboration

All of these lead to lowered employee satisfaction and morale.

Guillermo also briefly laid out the Common elements of a KM strategy:

  • current state assessment
  • benchmarking
  • visioning and target state definition
  • road mapping
  • implementation

I have used these principles for a long time, but it is great to see them laid out in a coherent manner.

The presenter also gave a brief overview of Agile, which the audience was reminded, is more about interactions than technology. In addition, he said:

  • Focus efforts on creating a usable product with business value
  • Engaging with customers is the best way to build trust
    • this begs the question of all the substandard customer support out in the technology world.
  • Leave room for emergent solutions / responding to change is more important than following a plan

He talked about 5 principles to include Agile in your KM practices:


  • Create an opportunity to learn after each milestone
    • this will bring closer alignment to the customer’s needs
    • it will also improve the team’s performance and, I think, create more satisfaction for the team

If the team discusses what went well and what could have been improved in a way that focuses on learning rather than blame, people are happier. They are happy to move forward, they don’t leave the meeting feeling underappreciated and undervalued. This approach can help to build trust within the team.


  • Make team’s work and workflow visible
    • helps team members coordinate their work, which is helpful if one step is dependent on another. It also keeps the team well informed.
    • increases team accountability
    • brings clarity among complexity


  • Invite constant feedback
    • inviting feedback ensures the team understanding of customer needs and objectives
    • surfaces conflicting priorities or requirements
    • co-creation leads to ownership
    • allows for knowledge transfer between project team and stakeholders

Often this can mean meetings, but the opportunity to ask for clarification or identify new issues is really valuable. Constant feedback also focuses on the collaborative aspects of meetings.


  • Break down recommendations into smaller activities, then iterate and expand
    • smaller tasks reduce risk and are easier to accomplish. They also make the whole project seem less daunting
    • value is delivered earlier and team members see progress, which is great for morale
    • users are better able to understand and relate to activities with a targeted scope
    • there is an ability to adjust course as well.

With smaller tasks, the team can focus on solving a particular challenge as a team. More brains are better and the task can be accomplished faster than if one person was beating their head against the wall.

Testing in a limited timeframe also gives people an idea of how a feature will play out. Key stakeholders can see  progress as well.


  • Engage stakeholders frequently
    • builds trust and understanding
    • identify issues sooner
    • makes difficult conversations easier

In situations like working from home because of a worldwide pandemic, having trust is key. Creating trust by being in the same room with stakeholders before the pandemic can be key, but we are improving our ability to communicate via video during the pandemic as well. It is also a good way to set expectations and objects as well as discuss obstacles.


These 5 principles are pretty basic, but just right as well. If  a team included all of these in a project, I think the team and project would be successful.



My only problem was that I couldn’t find the slides and would have liked to review them later.