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Knowledge Works: The Handbook of Practical Ways to Identify and Solve Common Organizational Problems for Better Performance by Jane McKenzie, Christine van Winkelen

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Chapter 4

INTEGRATING KNOWLEDGE PRACTICES INTO PROJECTS

Snapshot

Increasingly organizations structure all or part of their operations around projects. An examination of the enablers and blocks to knowledge flows both within and between projects shows that on the whole, projects have more in common with other operational environments than is often believed to be the case. Consequently, general approaches, tools, techniques, and thinking to improve the flow of knowledge around organizations can be applied to good effect in project environments. Project managers often offer the focus on short-term deliverables as opposed to long-term capability building as a justification for ignoring general knowledge-sharing practices. This concern can be addressed by arguments relating to the basis of value generation.

Understanding the type of project is an important consideration because it determines which particular knowledge practices are most likely to be helpful. By categorizing projects into one of four types, it is possible to select the knowledge practices that best match key project characteristics. One category of projects tends to benefit most from informal knowledge approaches while another needs more systematic and structured processes and tools. However, as projects tend to evolve from one type to another, this means that the knowledge approach will need to evolve too, which can be challenging both for the project manager and for managers focusing on improving performance from a knowledge ...

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