The real cost of not having a knowledge management system

Based on my experience I can divide costs into two parts:

1. Direct financial costs

It’s not unusual that different people in an organisation make the same mistakes again and again. We have all seen this.

We keep forgetting things and missing the steps or checklists that are critical to a project.

I saw it first-hand in an organization where someone was spending hours researching a solution while another staff member had done it before.

Making mistakes is a part of being human and it’s ok, but repeating them is not. The organization has to pay the costs for mistakes in the end. The project could be delayed, or it could have issues that haven’t been tested properly etc.

2. Human costs

Almost every employee likes to impress their peers and managers with the quality of their work. This is the way humans like to get acknowledgement.

If they don’t have a process to follow and it takes longer to finish a task, or even worse, they make a simple mistake with a task they have done before, they won’t have great satisfaction about themselves. If it happens a few times, the organization might lose the engagement of staff as they are not satisfied anymore.


Having a knowledge management system could be a great solution for both areas.

By documenting processes and learning (not repeating mistakes) we eliminate the human error factor.

If a staff member shows up at work after their 2 year old didn’t let them sleep, they can still follow step by step instructions to complete a task. If they had a great sleep and had a great night, they can even  improve some steps and make them more efficient.

Your homework:

Look inside your organisation and see how many active policy, processes and procedures are in use. You can download my complementary Knowledge Management Checklist to assist you.

Even if you don’t have time right now to take the big steps, at least you have an idea of what needs to be done.