On methodology in records and knowledge management

I have been working on a document and records management strategy and plan for my current employer. I am actually enjoying the challenge of assessing the organisation’s needs and capabilities in terms of the whole gamut of records management practice.

I am working with the DIRKS methodology from the National Archives of Australia because I am familiar with the system and it pretty much follows common sense, always a useful attribute in itself. The DIRKS methodology is also an Australian Standard.

However, I am naturally working with the methodology in a particular workplace context, with specific organisational goals, and with context-sensitive change management issues. I am therefore using the DIRKS methodology as a way of placing my thoughts and strategies into a framework from which to ask myself a range of questions and to check assertions and assumptions.

I quite like using the methodology this way rather than feeling constrained by methodologies that may not best fit the needs of the organisation, nor the context. As a consequence, I will be taking a broader look at other records management methodologies to see how approaches may differ. If you are in Sydney at the Records Management Association of Australia Convention next Monday, perhaps we can chat about it there!

Interestingly, Cory Banks recently asked about knowledge management maturity models. The request was interesting because I am looking at that particular methodology for some academic work I am doing in my Masters course. Once again, I am looking at the methodology as a vehicle to challenge my thoughts and give me ideas and guidance for a particular knowledge management approach.

And since I have initiated knowledge management projects in the past (and likely to do so in the future), I am more than interested in these kinds of methodological approaches – for better or worse! At least I will be able to judge how useful they may be for contexts I encounter in the future; if they are useful at all, or whether a particular methodology may indeed be mandatory at a particular workplace!

Like my records management example, I am looking at knowledge management maturity models in terms of the organisational goals, organisational capabilities and resource potential, and contextual environment.

I suppose I am lucky in the sense that I have had the flexibility to be able to use methodologies in the way I have. Some organisations follow particular methodologies to the letter, allowing no flexibility in consideration of organisational context and organisational structures.

I have seen methodologies become the centrepiece of organisational assessment and decision-making rather than being used as a tool to assist in organisational analysis, contextual understanding, and contextually appropriate solutions. In such cases, the methodology seems to be more important than the solution. Perhaps methodologies can work that way but complex problems do not respond well to such dogmatic approaches.

I would be happy to hear about people’s experiences with methodological approaches and assessments in either a records management or knowledge management context. Please feel free to make a comment.

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One response to “On methodology in records and knowledge management

  1. Pingback: On RMAA Convention 2008 - report (3) « Brad Hinton - plain speaking

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