This is a new process that was added as part of the Integration Management Knowledge Area in PMBOK Guide edition 6. This is part of the Executing Process Group. Below is the PG-KA mapping,
This process is all about using the existing knowledge and creating new knowledge to achieve the project’s objectives. Thereby contributing to organizational learning.
The key benefit of this process is that prior organizational knowledge is leveraged to produce or even improve the project outcomes. It should also be noted that when new knowledge is created during the course of the project, it is made available for future projects.
As you might have guessed by now, this process is performed throughout the project. Also, don’t you think this process will have strong connections with existing concepts of Lessons Learned and Organizational Process Assets (OPA)? We will discuss more on this later in this article.
Types of Knowledge
You will typically see knowledge split into two categories,
1. Explicit Knowledge
This refers to knowledge that can be readily codified using words, pictures and numbers
2. Tacit Knowledge
This refers to knowledge that is personal and difficult to express such as beliefs, insights, experiences and ‘know-how’
Knowledge management deals with managing both explicit as well as tacit knowledge. This requires knowledge sharing and knowledge integration. Knowledge Integration refers to integrating knowledge from different domains, contextual knowledge and project management knowledge
Misconceptions around Managing Knowledge
One of the most common misconceptions is that managing knowledge simply involves documenting everything so that it can be shared. That is far from truth. Another misconception is that managing knowledge is simply obtaining lessons learned at the end of the project to utilize it in future projects.
Ofcourse, explicit knowledge can be shared this way since it can be easily codified. However, the entire context might be lost in the procedure and such knowledge is open to different interpretations. So although it can be easily shared it isn’t always understood or applied in the right way. Now tacit knowledge on the other hand has the context built-in but it is very difficult to codify. Tacit knowledge resides in the mind and is normally shared only in conversations and interactions
Goal of Manage Project Knowledge
It should now be cleared that the goal of this process is to ensure that the skills, experience and expertise of the entire project team and stakeholders is used before, during and after the project. We realize that tacit knowledge resides in the minds of people and thus an atmosphere of trust needs to created so that people are motivated enough to share it. It is equally important that people pay attention to the knowledge being shared.
In practice, knowledge is shared using a combination of knowledge management tools and techniques as well as information management tools and techniques which we will discuss further.
Manage Project Knowledge – Inputs
- Project Management Plan
- Project Documents like Lessons Learned, Resource Breakdown Structure, Stakeholder Register etc
- Deliverables – Any unique verifiable product or result that is produced as part of the project is a deliverable. Typically, deliverables are tangible components
- Enterprise Environmental Factors (EEF)
- Organizational Process Assets (OPA)
Manage Project Knowledge – Tools and Techniques
1. Knowledge Management
Knowledge Management is all about connecting people so that they can work together to create new knowledge, share tacit knowledge and integrate the knowledge of diverse team members. Some of the tools and techniques that come under this category are knowledge-sharing events, networking events, online social networking platforms and forums, meetings, workshops etc
2. Information Management
While knowledge management is about connecting people, information management deals with connecting people with information. They aid in sharing explicit knowledge. Some of the tools and techniques for this category are lessons learned register, published articles, Project Management Information System (PMIS) etc
3. Interpersonal and Team Skills
Some of these skills are,
- Active Listening improves communication and knowledge sharing. It also reduces misunderstandings
- Facilitation leads the project team to a successful decision or conclusion
- Leadership helps communicating the vision and inspire the project team to focus on the appropriate knowledge and its objectives
- Networking helps build informal connections and relations amongst the project stakeholders helping create an environment to share tacit and explicit knowledge
- Political Awareness is all about the organizational’s political environment that should be known in order to plan project communications
Manage Project Knowledge – Outputs
1. Lessons Learned Register
Lessons Learned register is an important output of this process. As you will realize in your project management study, this is used as an input and updated as an output in many processes throughout the project. Lessons Learned is basically used to document the knowledge. This can be achieved by videos, pictures, audios or other suitable means.
Typically, the lessons learned register will include category and description of the situation as well as the associated impact, recommendations and proposed actions. Note that lessons learned is basically one of the organizational process assets
2. Other Outputs
The other outputs of this process are updates to the Project Management Plan and the Organizational Process Assets.
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