Project Knowledge Plans

Best practice KM is about treating knowledge as an asset – just like finances.

Knowledge Plans for Projects are an effective and practical way of turning this approach into reality (just like a Financial Plan for the Project).

In simple terms, Projects use and create knowledge on behalf of the organisation and Functions are long term custodians of knowledge on behalf of the organisation. Simple and effective KM Plans for both are required – this article focuses on Project KM Plans.

What does a KM Plan for a Project do? It provides a structured means to allow and manage:

  • Knowledge flow into the Project from the wider organisation at the start (or the start of each Project stage)
  • Knowledge and learning to develop and grow as the Project is delivered
  • Knowledge and learning to be shared with, and exported to, the wider organisation.

Imagine a Project KM Plan that achieves these things, pragmatically and effectively, through:

1/. Up-front clarity of Project objectives and the specific knowledge required to deliver them. Delivery of action plan to obtain any up-front knowledge that is found to be missing (a “Knowledge Register” analogous to a Risk Register attached to a Risk Management plan);

2/. Identification of points during Project delivery where team learning processes take place (typically linked to Project Stage Gates). These team learning processes vary depending on whether bringing knowledge into the Project team (Peer Assist), internal team learning (After Action Review) or exporting lessons to the wider organisation (Learning Reviews).

3/. Structured sharing of learning with the wider organisation in a managed way through Lessons Identified and delivery of associated actions, interaction with Communities and updating of training courses.

4/. Ongoing prioritisation and engagement with organisational Communities of Practice to match the knowledge needs (both inputs and exports) of the Project – these will change as the Project evolves from stage to stage. Also, clarity on which Project team members need to be involved.

5/. Proactive application of Individual Knowledge Transfer for staff leaving the Project (eg due to staff transfer or retirement) – also for new staff onboarding the Project.

The above is what a KM Plan for a Project is about – and it plays a part in the wider KM scheme / system for the organisation. A part time KM Manager is required to own and maintain the Project KM Plan on behalf of the Project Manager and the Project KM Plan is reviewed on a regular basis as part of Project governance.