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9 Project Knowledge Management Best Practices

        posted by , March 29, 2013

Every project creates knowledge. Every project depends on knowledge.

Knowledge management allows project teams to leverage rivers of organizational knowledge to support project objectives. It also allows projects to add measurable value to an organization's knowledge.

The following knowledge management best practices are critical for projects.

1. Align With The Sponsoring Organization's Knowledge Management Practices

Avoid reinventing knowledge management for your project. This will only complicate project execution and communications.

Engage the sponsoring organization's knowledge management practice early in the project initiation phase.

Align your project with the knowledge management culture, principles, practices, processes and tool sets of the sponsoring organization.

2. Use Existing Knowledge

It's tempting to view every project as a greenfield. However, this is often wasteful and politically dangerous.

Project teams need to come up to speed with the organization's knowledge as part of the project. Ignorance of the organization's existing knowledge can be political dynamite. For example, you don't want to fund a feasibility study that's already been done. You don't want to violate the organization's strategy or best practices.

Research into existing knowledge is critical to integration with an organization's culture, processes and systems.

3. Validate & Assess Knowledge

If your project depends on existing organizational knowledge it's important to validate & assess that knowledge. For example, if you're developing a new product and someone's already done some market research — include an activity in your plan to validate that research.

4. Be As Open As Possible With Project Knowledge

In some cases project knowledge is sensitive, confidential or private. However, it's best to be open by default.

Openness can reduce resistance to your project. For example, you don't want stakeholders to feel that they weren't informed.

5. Communicate & Socialize Knowledge Deliverables

It's not enough to stick your knowledge deliverables into SharePoint somewhere. Include socialization of knowledge deliverables into your communication plan.

It's safer to over-communicate the knowledge your project generates than to under-communicate it.

Communicate knowledge in different ways using different channels of communication.

7. Establish Project Principles That Layout Your Knowledge Management Approach

Project principles are guidelines that everyone is expected to follow for your project (i.e. established by executive management).

Include knowledge management principles as project principles. For example, set the expectation that knowledge will be stored in a central location, communicated and socialized.

8. Identify the Long Term Owners of Knowledge

Projects are transitional. Who will own the knowledge you generate when the project is over?

Identify owners in your plan and include activities for knowledge transfer.

Knowledge transfer is an ongoing activity — not an afterthought when the project is closing.

9. Integrate Project Knowledge with Organizational Knowledge

Avoid creating a knowledge island that's disconnected from the organization's knowledge.

Combine & connect project knowledge into the knowledge of the organization.

Too often project knowledge wastes away in a project folder off by itself in a remote location.

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