Knowledge Management in projects

It has been fifteen years since I wrote my first solo KM book, “Knowledge Management for Teams and Projects“.

I reproduce below the final chapter, that attempts to summarize the main conclusions for three groups of key Knowledge Management actors; the project managers and knowledge managers, the Community coordinators and SMEs, and the company management, and outlines their roles in driving KM in projects.

Some added activities have been developed over the past decade and a half, and these are included in italics

For the project manager, and project knowledge manager 

The project manager needs to ensure that the project staff are “Learning Before Doing

  • The project manager should ensure the project has a Knowledge Management plan, and performs some form of knowledge gap analysis.
  • Right-Scoping meetings are a way of bringing knowledge during the Scoping phase of the project 
  • Customer Interview maximizes the team’s knowledge of the customers’ needs and context
  • The earlier you can bring in Contractors’ knowledge, the better
  • Peer Assist is one of the simplest and most effective ways of bringing in existing knowledge from past projects
  • Optioneering is one form of Peer Assist 
  • If there is no existing knowledge, some level of Business Driven Action learning may be needed
  •  Peer Review is more of an assurance process than a Knowledge Management process 

The project manager needs to ensure that the project staff are “Learning While Doing” 

  • The After Action Review is an excellent way of doing this
  • Communities of Practice are a crucial resource for “Learning While Doing”
  • Knowledge Management can be built into project review meetings
  • The project manager will need to appoint a Knowledge Manager for the project 
  • The project knowledge manager manages the project KM plan
  • Knowledge engineers and/or learning historians may also be needed in major projects
  • A Lessons and Action Log will be needed 

The project manager needs to ensure that the project staff are “Learning After Doing”

  • Retrospects need to be scheduled after each project stage (and perhaps more frequently)
  • On a large or dispersed project, a Knowledge History may be needed 
  • Knowledge Management needs to be linked with Performance Management, Risk management, and SSHE management
  • A “knowledge handover” meeting should be held at the end of the project to share the lessons with other projects
  • The project team should conduct a baton-passing meeting with the operations team

For the Community coordinators and SMEs 

  • Ownership needs to be established for the management of knowledge between the projects, for the derivation of Best Practices and Standards, and for the operation and maintenance of communities or practice
  • Best Practices, Knowledge assets and other knowledge-related guidelines should be constructed for key areas of knowledge
  • Subject Matter Experts are needed for these key knowledge areas
  •  Transfer of tacit knowledge can be facilitated through Staff Transfer and Communities of Practice
  • A Yellow Pages system is also a useful tool
  • The communities of practice require a Q&A tool, a document library, and a place to build best practice (eg a wiki).

For management 

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Shared by: Nick Milton

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