Monday, January 25, 2010

Here's how I'm approaching Personal Knowledge Management


A few months back, Harold Jarche wrote a very interesting article about sense making with Personal Knowledge Management (PKM). Harold suggested a model that he uses to manage his personal knowledge and stay on top of his social media intake. I strongly suggest that you also look through the webinar he did on PKM at the LearnTrends conference. I think the article is a great reference for anyone that claims to be getting overwhelmed by the volume of information out there on the web. I have had this problem for ages as well and given that I'm a Getting Things Done (GTD) guy, I wanted to make my knowledge management fit into my regular scheme of life. So, at the very outset let me tell you that the names of the steps on my KM model are stolen from David Allen, though the content of these steps may be a little different from how Allen describes them in his book. Anyway, lets quickly look through the steps I go through to make sense of all the wonderful information that I come across on the big broad internet.

The First Step - Collection

I like to keep my collection mechanism automated. I work at least 12 hours a day on a regular basis and with 8 hours of sleep added on, there's very little time I have to manually collect information. I'd rather have all the information collected for me in advance, so I can get to processing it thereafter. So here are my channels of collecting information:
  • I use Google Reader to collect and aggregate all of my information from news sites and blogs;
  • I use Twitter to collect and aggregate all of the information that my social network wants to throw my way;
  • I often get information from some other sources like webinars, forums, IM and email;
Here's a quick video tour of my most prominent channels to collect information and you can see how I ensure that the information stays contextualised in the right places.


The Second Step - Processing

One of the things I know for a fact is that even when I have all of this information collected automatically, I'll never ever be able to keep up with everything. I was at DevLearn last year and Leo Laporte in his keynote said, "Its a river of information, dip your foot in whenever its convenient." So the first rule for me when processing stuff is not to fret about staying on top of everything. So here's what I do to process my 'stuff':
  • If I miss something really important, my network will bring it to the surface again at some point -- so missing important stuff is something I try hard not to worry about.
  • I set aside a few fixed slots of time each day to look through my various collection channels of information.
  • During this time, I try to skim through all the information that has come my way, while resisting the the information to read through each of them.
  • I ensure that everything I wish to ignore is separate from the things I actually want to pay attention to.
  • I organise the things I want to pay attention to as I perform the processing step.

The Second and a half Step - Organising

I call organising the second and a half step, because I really almost do it simultaneously with the processing. My organisation revolves around one concept and one concept alone -- tagging. So here are my organising rules:
  • If I receive interesting information on twitter, webinars, forums, IM or email I socially bookmark it on Delicious and add an appropriate tag to it.
  • If I find interesting information from any of the blogs I follow, I share and tag it on Google Reader and at most times when I have the energy I add it to Delicious as well. (I've just started to do this with some discipline, so don't be surprised if my tags on reader in particular don't lead you to much)
Here's a quick video of how I organise my information.


Using my information - Reviewing & Retrieving


Once my information's organised the right way, all I need to do is search on Delicious and/or Google Reader and I should be able to find what I need. What also helps with social tools like Delicious, is that you can benefit from all the PKM that everyone else is doing. So I have power users like Dinesh Tantri on my network and now, I have access not just to the information that I've put up on Delicious, but also to all the information that my network has put up on Delicious. So I combine the power of tagging and search to find what i need, just when I need it - yaay! Take a look through the video below to see how I usually get around my personal and social knowledge base.



So since this blogpost was about how I'm managing my knowledge base, here are some of my aggregated resources that you may find useful.

Firstly my shared items on Google Reader (not many right now, but will grow). Also, here are some news feed bundles I've created which you may find useful:
You can also browse through my Delicious bookmarks and look at the bookmarks from my network. And just in case you got excited about RSS and twitter just because of this blog post, then do check out the links below:
The RSS feed for this blog
My twitter handle - @sumeet_moghe

As always, don't forget to let me know how you found this blogpost. Your comments are always welcome and I'd love to hear what you think.

48 comments:

Harold Jarche said...

Great to see another variation on the theme of PKM. The "P" is very important; each person has to figure out what works for him or her.

Sumeet Moghe said...

Thanks Harold,
Your comment means a lot in terms of validation of my thoughts.

Sumeet

Sumeet Moghe said...

At the very moment that I was writing this blogpost, the very popular Tom Kulhmann wrote a similar post on how to navigate social media and avoid information overload. Great post that I recommend reading.

Dallas McPheeters said...

Funny but I just built a web tutorial on streamlining personal knowledge management feeds. The steps I followed to fashion this technique culminate in a community resource for real impact. Thanks for sharing. The link if you have an interest is here:
http://uniques.com/streamlining

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Thanks,i am studying how to pkm.

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Andrew Trinidad said...

Sumeet,

I am addicted to your blog. Have been reading through it and following links for close to 4 hours now. I will definitely be implementing elements of your knowledge management system.

I am particularly interested in your knowledge in social learning platforms and have some specific questions for you mostly about what tools you can suggest for me.

I hope you will be willing to point me in the right directions in those regards.

Thank you for sharing your knowledge with the world.

Can you email me some time or should I email you?

I look forward to informing myself further through your writing and can't wait to show some of my friends your work.

Cheers,

Andrew
andrew.trinidad.jp@gmail.com

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