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Knowledge Management T&T in PMBOK

Knowledge Management

This topic (Knowledge Management) is newly introduced in PMBOK sixth edition with a new process and a list of tools and techniques. It is welcome change/addition to the sixth edition and so very important to Project Management.

We expect this domain is set to grow exponentially in the coming years. In this blog, we will discuss this topic at the practice level and later discussion on the tools and techniques listed in the PMBOK

Knowledge exists in different forms. It is the misconception that knowledge involves documentation in the form of lessons learned and reports and case studies. In fact, this form of knowledge is the weakest form of knowledge. Higher levels of knowledge reside in individuals and communities that are tacit and embedded.

The next step in Knowledge management is to know how does it help enterprises?

We understand this from three perspectives Past, Present and Future

Often when we begin the project, the first question came up during the bid stage is an estimation of time, effort, and cost. The reliable source is our own experience in the past project. So it is very important to preserve the history and lesson learned in the form of repositories indexed for ready reference.

Present: while executing the project, the team explores, discusses, defines, discovers many areas since the project always involves unique elements. The knowledge management enables and keeps the information being generated for the current and future projects

By carefully working on the past and present, the organization always looks into the future with their own known assets prepared for the future and look for new information, acquire the ability to quickly respond to changes and new and emerging insights and technologies. This agility make the company reside in creative and innovative quadrant all the time

How do we set up the approach/strategy?

Look at the practice with the following questions :

  1. As an organization, Program or project, What it should know?
  2. What it currently knows in the form or codified and tacit knowledge?
  3. Where is it residing (Process, People, Documents and know how)?
  4. Who is holding them?
  5. In what form?
  6. How best it can be shared/transferred?
  7. How are we measuring, and improving (growing)?

To grow and mature in this area one should look from the following dimensions

  • Individual
  • Small groups
  • Dept/Business unit / location
  • Enterprise

The following picture will help to see from each of the above levels

Finally, the project teams and organizations should strive to build the knowledge management practices progressively through a suite of practices and assets

KM Suite components

  • Process repository: Policies, Processes, SOPs, templates, checklists
  • Documents repository
  • Lessons learned repository
  • Reports, Analysis, Success stories in videos, interviews, talks and Case studies
  • Failures should be seen as a ladder for success and brought to stories as above
  • Encourage people to attend Seminars, conferences and share after coming back

Tools and techniques include but are not limited to:

  • Networking, including informal social interaction and online social networking. Online forums where people
  • can ask open questions (“What does anyone know about…?”) are useful for starting knowledge-sharing
  • conversations with specialists;
  • Communities of practice (sometimes called communities of interest or just communities) and special
  • interest groups;
  • Meetings, including virtual meetings where participants can interact using communications technology;
  • Work shadowing and reverse shadowing;
  • Discussion forums such as focus groups;
  • Knowledge-sharing events such as seminars and conferences;
  • Workshops, including problem-solving sessions and learning reviews designed to identify lessons learned;
  • Storytelling;
  • Creativity and ideas management techniques;
  • Knowledge fairs and cafes; and
  • Training that involves interaction between learners.

From an organization perspective following care should be taken since it all revolves around people and stakeholders:

  1. Create an atmosphere of trust so that people are motivated to share the knowledge
  2. People cannot be forced to share knowledge. Such sharing will be ineffective
  3. While extensive preparations will maximize the consolidation process, informal exchanges will make it a habit and improve the effectiveness of exchange and it will cover more stakeholders. Hence both should be encouraged

Where Applied?

Within the PMBOK® Guide, Knowledge Management Technique is used in the following processes:

[table id=71 /]

All of these tools and techniques can be applied face-to-face or virtually, or both. Face-to-face interaction is usually the most effective way to build the trusting relationships that are needed to manage knowledge.



Article writer  P Seenivasan, PMP, PgMP, PfMP

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