Re-using work templates developed by someone who has been efficiently performing a particular task is another inexpensive KM approach. This approach also works very well for shortening learning curves of new recruits.
A work template is a document, code or material that was used in performing a task well and can be re-used to perform other identical or similar tasks. By guiding action, a work template helps perform a task quickly and with fewer mistakes especially by those who are doing the task for the first time:
- A checklist of things to do or to watch out for
- A form letter for a type of communication that is repeated many times
- A spreadsheet to compute something or to summarize something
- A workshop session guide
- A step-by-step action guide
- A successful proposal that can be used as a pattern for drafting future proposals
- A course outline or course syllabus
- A well-written report to guide writing of next similar reports
Knowledge workers (often unconsciously) improvise, re-use and improve work templates as a matter of course. They do these little things to simplify and speed up their work. They do not call what they are doing as “knowledge management” and often they do not recognize that they are creating and reusing valuable “knowledge products.” Nevertheless their intended result is what KM is really aiming for: more effective action.