How projects and organisations work together to make a KM system

Projects and the wider organisation are linked in a Knowledge-handling cycle

Please note, in this article you can replace the word “project” with “department” or “division” or “team” or “office” throughout.

The Boston Square here is one that I have used with projects as part of their Knowledge Management planning, and is a useful framework to allow projects to reflect about the knowledge sharing they need to do.

The thinking is as follows.

  • The project knows some things
  • The wider organisation (the centre, the functional departments and other projects) knows some things as well.
  • At the start of the project, they need to learn as much from the wider organisation as they can. If there are important things the organisation knows but the project doesn’t, the project needs to learn these things.
  • At the end of the project, if the project has learned things the rest of the organisation does not know, then the project needs to share this knowledge.
  • At all other times, the project and the organisation should be in synch – in the green boxes in the diagram.
  • If there is any knowledge held in the red boxes, meaning that the organisation doesn’t learn what the project knows, or the project doesn’t learn what the organisation knows, then this is evidence of organisational silos, and of the lack of knowledge sharing. 
The projects therefore import knowledge from the organisation at the start, and export new knowledge at the end. They are the users and the creators of knowledge. In many ways the rest of the organisation exists as a knowledge-handling mechanism to service the projects with knowledge. 
Knowledge circulates through the interactions between the projects and the organisation, as shown below, and grows, deepens, evolves and develops as it does so.

The projects and the organisations are like two chambers of a beating heart, responsible for the circulatory flow of Knowledge

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Shared by: Nick Milton

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