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What is knowledge management?What is knowledge management in projects?

Definition

Knowledge management is a holistic, cross-functional discipline and set of practices concerned with the way organisations create and use knowledge to improve outcomes.

Definition from APM Body of Knowledge 7th edition

Knowledge management can be applied within and between projects, programmes, portfolios and organisations and across extended and product life cycles. It is reliant on connecting people, sometimes with the support of documents and other information. Methods include peer ‘assists’ or reviews, facilitated problem-solving workshops, ideas generation sessions and communities of practice.

Sharing knowledge in a meaningful way is vital to help improve projects and the likelihood of project success. To use knowledge management project professionals must remember there is no one-size-fits-all knowledge management solution. Knowledge management is tailored to the needs and contexts of specific projects, programmes, portfolios and organisations.

A common approach to managing knowledge and information is with lessons learned.

Did you know, knowledge management is a condition for project success? Learn more here.

Knowledge management research

In late 2014 the APM Knowledge SIG started a research project to find out how project-based organisations really manage knowledge – and to compare what we found with good knowledge management practice. The main researchers were Dr Judy Payne and Dr Nicholas Silburn.

The survey was based on established knowledge management thinking and frameworks and included a mixture of closed questions and opportunities for respondents to comment in their own words. Each organisation received a report containing a summary of the results and a number of suggested improvement actions.

Research findings

Part one: What is knowledge and why does it matter?

Knowledge management is widely misunderstood in project management. Many people think knowledge management is a matter of capturing some ‘lessons’ at the end of a project; it isn’t. 

A lack of alignment between an organisation’s understanding of ‘knowledge’, its approach to knowledge management, and what it actually does to manage knowledge can lead to confusion, misunderstandings and poor focus.

Find out more about what knowledge is and why it matters

Part two: Knowledge management practises

In practice, good knowledge management is mostly about creating an environment where people want to share what they know. It includes HR interventions, networking and simply giving people time to talk to each other.

These practices are difficult to translate into the systematic processes that project managers are used to. There is no template for creating a knowledge-sharing environment.

Learn more about knowledge management practises

We really need to talk about knowledge management

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Project knowledge management

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Knowledge-SIG.gif

APM Knowledge SIG

The APM Knowledge SIG (Specific Interest Group) have backgrounds in both project management and knowledge management: as practitioners, researchers and managers. We have worked in utilities, construction, higher education, defence, banking and health; and in public, private and not-for-profit sectors.

APM Body Of Knowledge 7Th Edition Promo Image

APM Body of Knowledge 7th edition

The APM Body of Knowledge 7th edition is a foundational resource providing the concepts, functions and activities that make up professional project management. It reflects the developing profession, recognising project-based working at all levels, and across all sectors for influencers, decision makers, project professionals and their teams. 

Buy from the bookshop

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