No matter what kind of organization or business you are running, it needs a significant amount of knowledge, data, information, and expertise to ensure constant success day by day. To get the most of this knowledge, there is a system that can manage, store and share it the best way possible. In that case, knowledge management comes to the rescue.
This is a complete guide where will dive deeper on knowledge management, types of knowledge management systems you can use in your organization, and how it can benefit your project managers.
1. What is Knowledge Management System?
Knowledge management is the process to organize, manage, capture and share information and knowledge. You can find a whole lot of information today and the volume has no sign to stop its growth anytime soon. In project management, the biggest hurdle for both the company and its employees is getting the most of this information and knowledge so they can make decisions well, operate smoothly, and stand out in the competition.
The concept of KM or Knowledge Management includes all vital aspects like innovation, change, improved performance, standing out in competition, and strategies to implement the same for project managers. It is also very important for small organizations which usually overlook the importance of taking resources and time for knowledge.
2. The Source of Knowledge Management
In 1990 (nearly 3 decades ago), Knowledge Management was nothing but called as corporate libraries, apprenticeship, group discussions, discussion forums, and training programs. With the advancement of technology, Knowledge Management has come a long way. It was later known as ‘Personal Knowledge Management’ in 1999 as it was based on a personal level.
Later on, knowledge management has seen more demand and most organizations started adopting it as their strategy for development. Companies started realizing its importance and understood how it can improve the learning process and bring change in corporate culture. Today, knowledge management is adopted well to benefit both individuals and companies.
3. Types of Knowledge Management Systems
As the name suggests, the Knowledge Management System is the process to utilize and apply knowledge management in your company. This system is an important part of the overall knowledge management concept.
There are several types of Knowledge Management Systems and they are aimed to retrieve and store vital knowledge, data, and information. They also serve other purposes like locating different knowledge sources, gathering data, and improving the overall data mining process.
All in all, you can make better business decisions but Business Intelligence has its unique importance, which is based on explicit knowledge. On the other side, the Knowledge Management system is a complete term which covers both implicit and explicit knowledge.
Knowledge Management system is technically an IT system which has various software programs connected and controlled by a central interface. Along with training new staff and maintaining their progress, a knowledge management system also helps in sales growth. Here are some of the different types of knowledge management systems –
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- KM Groupware system
- Semantic network
- Simulation systems
- AI-based tools
- Data mining
- Data Warehousing
- Decision Support
- Document Management systems
4. Knowledge Management – How it helps Project Managers?
The knowledge of project management is mainly utilized organized to help organizations to proactively and productively execute projects. With proper knowledge management in practice, you can access the right means with the right set of information and skills.
Proper utilization of knowledge management can ensure increased productivity, substantial profits, and fulfillment of other corporate goals. Here are some of the reasons how it can benefit your organization –
- Better teamwork
- Understanding and implementing best industry practices
- Dealing with gray areas better
- Process novelty and improve product performance
- Growing capabilities of existing workers
- Reacting to constantly changing situations
- Curbing negative influences of worker yields
We hope you have got a clear insight into plenty of benefits you can avail from knowledge management. Now you might want to learn how to put knowledge management into practice. Here are the ways to benefit from knowledge management in project management –
- Learn to accept and manage changes
It is no denying the fact that change is part of our lives. The same rule applies to project management though. So, it is vital for project managers to embrace what comes next and find a way to manage the same.
If you are about to see the great transformation of your career, it’s time to develop huge knowledge bases. For these types of ventures, it is vital to adopt information change on the productivity of people to capture, share and identify sources of information and gather outcomes in the venture. It also helps control the same with the pace of other aspects.
This way, Knowledge Management tools have been handy to project managers when it comes to form and retain a huge knowledge venture to keep every employee on the same pace and maintain transparency in all codes of conduct and policies.
Project managers can access knowledge base through self-paced and trainer-led training programs, dedicated tools, workshops, hands-on training, and peer-to-peer interactions.
- Preserve and Maintain Corporate Knowledge
Project managers are also involved in acquisitions, mergers and downscaling in the companies. With the help of a knowledge management system, project managers can include their unique services to each undertaking or program along with devoted goals of an organization.
When it comes to mergers between companies which were once rivals, for example, project managers can plan the tactical connections between the companies to achieve the defined prospect and to step ahead with changes in technology and maturing staff. It is also vital to consider the global circumstances where all of us work and a large number of stakeholders involved in the projects. We often face these challenges.
In the case of downscaling, the resources of workers’ information also leave with them. So, it is very vital to have a knowledge management system to gather vital resources. Companies have to recreate those resources when it comes to hiring again in the future and it can make learning curve even more complicated.
Hence, there are both formal and informal approaches for project managers to motivate their staff to share their knowledge. Some of the common examples of formal methods are boardroom meetings, office training, and seminars which may seem quite outdated. Some of the informal ways are discussions through social media and talking over some coffee. It can help break the barrier among senior and junior staff. This way, project managers can allow their employees to communicate with each other in informal ways.
- Help in Improving Customer Service and Decision Making
Without consistently working knowledge management system, it is next to impossible to make better business decisions and offer the best solutions to the customers. You cannot even think of outdated technology in this modern corporate world. Mutual understanding is not enough now to get in touch with project contributors to discuss the project management process. It is important for employees to share their knowledge and what they are doing currently.
It is very vital to make ways to improve the ambience of sharing what they have known already for improved efficiency. So, knowledge sharing is more than just a traditional way of gathering resources. It is an inspirational approach in a social environment.
Hence, it is vital for project managers to make ways to promote collaboration and communication among their staff. Encouraging staff from various departments to work together as a team in a project is one of the best strategies to promote interaction and problem-solving skills. Rotating job is another great approach so employees can bring new knowledge.
5. Steps to Deploy Knowledge Management Systems in Organizations
After getting a proper understanding of knowledge management and what it can do for project management, here are the steps to put these systems into practice –
- Consider business issues
First of all, a project manager has to determine several business issues with a thorough analysis. Without knowing the source of the problem, it will not be possible for you to meet your business goals with a knowledge management system. So, it is vital to determine the amount and type of information stored in your business databases, website and personal knowledge and experiences of each employee. You need to conduct cost-effective analysis to determine security issues, training costs, and updating costs involved in system structures.
- Prepare for the change
After determining conflict areas in your business, it’s time to get yourself, your staff and the whole organization ready for the change. Adopting and implementing knowledge management systems can help you manage changes in company cultural overall instead of tech support alone. It is up to your staff to resist the transition or even oppose the same. So, it is vital to play smarter and bring smaller changes. It is better to take some time for you and your employees to get used to the new system eventually and provide them all the training and support to go with new changes. Be sure to deal with this phase with proper know-how and patience.
- Make a devoted team
To implement Knowledge Management system well, you need an expert team leader with a dedicated team. You cannot assign a random person to start the process on your own. Make a strong team to streamline the process and have a focused approach to attain the goal. Have a team with different expertise to unite the skills and experience of each together.
- Consider your tech needs and set priorities
You need to determine several tech needs of the organization and set priorities. Find out what you need to know and from where to fix the issues. Know the potential costs before implementing a knowledge management system in your organization. Also, consider the technology and expertise you need and what you have learned already to figure out what you don’t have. Discuss with the concerned employees or core team before investing in a huge technology. Compare quality, prices, and brand beforehand.
- Determine major aspects of Knowledge Management
Next up, you have to determine what important attributes you need for knowledge management. Make a list of key features to ensure the technology can meet business goals and improve overall productivity. Consider these key features before investing in Knowledge Management System –
- Shared – These systems are the ones which have well-distributed components in different servers to learn about different offices or branches of an organization across the world.
- Open – With these systems, your staff can easily access the desired information remotely.
- Measurable – It means your system can assign access to the information to specific people from a specific location. It improves better management of knowledge and overall effectiveness in the company.
- Customizable – Your Knowledge Management system should have all the customization options to ensure better overall experience and usability.
- Secure – It must be fully secure to avoid the risk of duplication and loss of information and other threats.
- Introduce the Knowledge Management System
With all the vital resources and proper funding, you can launch the Knowledge Management system in your organization. Now that you have a proper understanding of the goal and you have met all your tech needs and addressed all organizational issues, you can freely introduce the program. You might face certain issues, conflicts, and gaps to address as you go ahead.
- Make improvements from time to time
After launching the Knowledge Management system, you might come to know certain areas where you have to improve. Hence, you can make ways to make the required changes and fill the gaps. You can compare old and new results and figure out the difference. See the performance and keep adding improvements.
- Implement Quality Frameworks
When considering repeatability and learning, you need to implement quality frameworks to ensure excellence in the organization. For example, you can implement the process from the Software Engineering Institute – Capability Maturity Model (SEI-CMM). This way, you can build capabilities and capacities and avoid failures and conflicts. This model has been most anticipated for service organizations to attain a higher level of excellence with complete risk mitigation.
Knowledge management system promotes competitive edge and performance improvements between the organizations. Project management needs efficient project managers who have all the valuable knowledge and insights whenever and wherever needed.
The well improved Knowledge Management solution fulfills the needs of your business by managing procedures, tools, and employees. It improves focus on both implicit and explicit information. It properly covers both structural and cultural changes, development process and operative tools you need to deal with technical, disciplined and interactive concerns.