Knowledge management tools and techniques

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In the second part of his knowledge management series, Stephen Bynghall looks at the tools and technologies available to help you achieve your goals.

Where to start?
There’s a whole industry based around personal effectiveness, and there are a plethora of products which may help you. In fact, you probably need a PKM-related approach just to keep on top of what is available!
Therefore, this overview is going to be sketchy. It’s only really a starting point of some of the things you might look into. I’ve divided it into two sections:

Approaches and advice

PKM touches a number of different areas, so there are many books which touch upon the subject. Some of these focus on increasing productivity, and one of the best known of these is Getting Things Done, by David Allen. With a strap line promising “stress-free productivity”, Allen outlines an entire methodology for organisational effectiveness and task management. Whilst I’m not sure his approach can guarantee removing stress, there are lots of ideas and tips to get you thinking, many of which can be adapted for your own use.  For example, I like the “two-minute rule”, which states that if you’re confronted with a task, do it there and then if it takes less than two minutes.

Blogs tend to be written from a personal perspective, so they’re a great way to find out what works well. You can easily Google blog content, although one blog which has regularly touched upon PKM recently is by Harold Jarche.

There’s a stack of training available which touches upon some of the elements of PKM, particularly the associated ‘softer’ skills.  Within larger organisations there are often courses which are run in-house or operate as e-learning modules. These are surprisingly under-utilised.


There are an overwhelming number of IT-related options in the field. For example there’s a whole category of iPhone applications just dedicated to productivity.

In this section I’m going to attempt a very broad overview of the different types of applications and website which can help you. Some of these are available via your internet browser on your laptop, and some are available as apps for iPhones or Android-powered devices. More often than not a tool will be available as both a website and a mobile application, and will be synchronised between the two.

Information management specialist Steve Bynghall managed the extranet programme at BDO for several years. Follow the links to see more guidance on personal information management.

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25th Aug 2010 11:43

A few tools I've tried

As an expert in procrastination, I've managed to waste a great deal of time with various software packages and PDAs over the years. Here are a few that turned out to be useful:

Google Sync 

- Keep a backup of your contacts and calendar online. 

- Sync calendar, mail and contacts to your iDevice



- ToDo lists, Calender, Contacts and Email

- Alarm clock so you don't miss the really important stuff

- Timer to time box activity

ToDo Lists

Remember the Milk 

- Great web based ToDo list with a pretty good iPhone app. It also accepts tasks via email and will similarly send reminders for upcoming tasks. 


- Great Mac, iPhone, iPad based GTD implementation but rather pricey and no PC support.


- iPad and iPhone Toodledo client that is clean and simple to use.  

Information storage


- PC, Mac, iPhone, Web, iPad ... so you always have it with you. 

- Searchable notes app that syncs your content to the cloud. 

- Use it to capture everything from a quick snapshot of the label of a good bottle of wine to a copy of your travel itinerary. 

- It will even take voice notes. 

- Take a photo or email a copy of any receipt and it will remember the date, time and location.  


- Personal Wiki for the mac

Google Mail

- Just send everything to Google and you will have an always available searchable archive. You will also be able to access it from anywhere / any device that has an internet connection. 

- Use the GoogleApps version if you want to use your own domain name.


Franklin Covey 

- Work from goals down to tasks

- PlanPlus for outlook is a pretty good tool to help you implement the methodology. 

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