Overview

Knowledge management (KM) involves collecting, organizing, and distributing knowledge that is accumulated over a period of time for the purposes of improving and increasing a company's competitive edge. This knowledge is more than mere facts and data. It is information and experience collected and applied to achieve the overall goals of a company.

Surveys by IT research firms reveal the popularity of KM. For example, a survey of 500 professionals by the Delphi Group revealed that more than 50 percent of the respondents have begun implementing KM, and more than 80 percent saw it as a major contribution to their companies.[1] According to Dataquest Inc., KM grew from a $2.7 billion market in 1997 to a $5 billion one in the year 2000.[-] Several advantages have been attributed to KM, and include:

■ Dealing with "gray" situations with greater confidence

■ Encouraging greater collaboration among employees

■ Identifying best practices

■ Improving the capacity for product and process innovation

■ Increasing the competencies of existing employees

■ Minimizing the negative impacts of employee turnover

■ Responding cost-effectively to rapidly changing environments

A KM project is implementing knowledge management disciplines, tools, and techniques to build a system that will achieve specific goals and objectives. The challenge, of course, is to collect, organize, and distribute knowledge to achieve goals and objectives that are often as vague as the definition of KM. This can lead to scope creep and overlooking customer wants and, ultimately, wreak havoc on cost, quality, or schedule performance.

The vagueness surrounding KM, in general, manifests itself via a survey of 100 IT managers by Informationweek. Forty-five percent of the respondents said that their IT management did not have a clear understanding of KM or did not know; 56 percent of the respondents said of the company's senior management did not know.[3] All this leads to one simple conclusion: the opportunity for knowledge management projects ending in failure is great.

The challenge, then, is to ensure that KM projects are completed in a timely, efficient, and effective manner. Project management is the way for doing just that.

12]Interactive Week, December 8, 1991.

13]Informationweek, March 16, 1998.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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