Matthew Clapp in CMS Watch talks about the timing between collaboration and knowledge management activities in companies in Collaboration First, Then Knowledge Management. He stresses the importance of setting up good collaboration, so that people within an team or group can share information with one another. After this works, only then think about sharing that information outside the group.
In my opinion, this order is significant. The goals of collaboration should first be to allow knowledge workers to labor together to complete projects and only then to collect that knowledge to be leveraged for the rest of the enterprise. Too many collaboration technology implementations are led by a knowledge management team that may have reversed the order of those two priorities. This can contribute to an over-engineered, failed project because the process for contributing and classifying content is so cumbersome that workers bypass the million dollar solution for another, simpler one that works.
I am seeing this happening with a client and within my own thinking. I have to be careful about focusing on the immediate problems of getting the first group of people working together - focus on their knowledge-sharing and knowledge-using needs. It is so tempting to expand my thinking to how we will share this information with the rest of the company. This is important, since we need to consider these things as we develop our initial strategies. But if it is too obvious that we are losing focus, then people won't bother with what we are doing and continue finding their own ways to share and distribute that information and knowledge. One mantra I have been using is "Make it work so well they don't have to create other processes."