Shy of retiring? 6 ideas to help

We all know about the knowledge cycle

Knowledge cycle

but how many of us actually address the last aspect of that cycle systematically?

Looking back to when I worked in know how within a law firm, I have to admit my approach to retiring knowledge documents was pretty haphazard. There were always so many other matters that had a higher priority and I was always a little worried about deleting stuff that may come in handy.

A few thoughts to help you with retiring documents and knowledge artefacts:

  1. For all new documents, decide upon realistic review and destruction dates at the outset. Create a standard process and you’ll be more likely to take action.
  2. Some databases allow you to automatically set a removal date, but many people are wary of automating this.
  3. Share out responsibility for checking compliance, relevance and usage of documents/artefacts. It won’t be such a burden if it is shared. And some people would far rather edit and review than create something new or run a training session, so you can help them to reach their knowledge activity targets in the way that suits them best.
  4. Ensure you are compliant with relevant regulations – something may no longer be useful, but are you required to keep it for any reason? Similarly, does this document/artefact comply with GDPR requirements? If not, can you adapt it/consent it, so it complies or should you delete straightaway?
  5. Breaking the task into smaller/monthly chunks will make it much easier than having a once-a-year clear out.
  6. Worried someone might need a document/artefact later? Cache it for a while and see what happens. If no one has asked for it a year later, you have your answer!

How do you handle the “destruction” aspect of the knowledge cycle? Any top tips to share?


And if you are interested in Knowledge fundamentals, come along to one of my foundation courses (KM: The Works).

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About knowledge4lawyers

I am a lawyer and a Knowledge Management expert. Through The Knowledge Business I help law firms improve their efficiency and profitability through knowledge services - consultancy, training and implementation help.
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