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12 Examples of Knowledge Audits

A knowledge audit is an assessment of knowledge management practices and culture. Historically, knowledge audits viewed knowledge as an asset and audits resembled an inventory audit. Modern knowledge audits are based on the idea that knowledge is only valuable when it is used. As such, a knowledge audit examines how knowledge flows across an organization. The following are common elements of a knowledge audit.

Document Quality

Sampling documents and evaluating their quality. Document quality can be scored according to criteria such as readability and adherence to document standards and templates.

Knowledge Processes

An evaluation of compliance to knowledge processes. For example, the percentage of projects that completed a satisfactory lessons learned process at project close.

Knowledge Culture

Evaluating the culture of knowledge creation, communication and use. For example, identifying a tendency to hide knowledge in silos by setting restrictive permissions. This can be evaluated by calculating the percentage of documents that are private to each team. It can also be helpful to use surveys and focus groups to understand the culture of knowledge management across different teams.


An evaluation of user interfaces for knowledge management and use. For example, identifying cumbersome tools that impact productivity or poor quality search results that are contributing to knowledge waste.

Knowledge Loss

Evaluating knowledge that is leaving an organization without being captured. For example, evaluating knowledge transfer processes such as exit interviews.

Knowledge Waste

Identifying instances where employees could not find existing knowledge in a timely and efficient manner.

Knowledge Overhead

Assessing the time and cost that go into producing low value documents. For example, a team that creates detailed meeting minutes that are almost never used.

Information Security

Evaluating knowledge processes that relate to information security. For example, reporting incidents where employees have sent knowledge by email attachment as opposed to sending a link to a secure document repository.

Document Control

Assessing document control processes. For example, instances where individuals ignore a requirement to approve knowledge artifacts such as meeting minutes.

Structure & Organization

Evaluating the structure and organization of knowledge repositories and tools. This can look at statistics such as the average depth of a document in a user interface. Generally speaking, any depth greater than 4 contributes to knowledge waste by making documents difficult to find.

Knowledge Velocity

Calculating knowledge velocity to determine how often documents are accessed. This can be examined by team and document type to find areas where valuable documents are going unused or documents that are being created at significant expense that are low value.

Document Analytics

Evaluating broad and comprehensive statistics related to the use of documents by employees, customers and partners to identify waste and value. For example, the number of unique users that have accessed a particular type of document.


Knowledge audits are designed to find and communicate problems in the hopes of driving improvement. They are led by individuals with independence from knowledge management teams who can ask hard questions to uncover risks and costly inefficiencies.
Overview: Knowledge Audit
An assessment of knowledge management practices and culture.
Related Concepts

Knowledge Management

This is the complete list of articles we have written about knowledge management.
A Posteriori
A Priori
Anti Information
Artificial Knowledge
Body Of Knowledge
Corporate Memory
Dispersed Knowledge
Document Control
Document Quality
Domain Knowledge
Information Asymmetry
Information Management
Information Pollution
Knowledge Analysis
Knowledge Audit
Knowledge Discovery
Knowledge Loss
Knowledge Measurement
Knowledge Processes
Knowledge Quality
Knowledge Risk
Knowledge Transfer
Knowledge Value
Knowledge Velocity
Knowledge Waste
Knowledge Work
Known Unknowns
Master Copy
Meta Knowledge
Outside Context Problem
Propositional Knowledge
Situated Knowledge
Tacit Knowledge
Unknown Unknown
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