Tuesday, 12 February 2013
In a product development organisation, the product development stream is easy to see, and easy to focus on. Attention, time and resources are focused on the delivery stream that delivers client-ready products on time and to budget.
However this delivery stream will not continue to deliver on time and to budget, without attention being paid to a second, parallel delivery stream - the knowledge development and delivery stream.
As well as producing products, the teams deliver knowledge which other teams can use to deliver products. The knowledge stream is an intangible stream; it delivers intangible value in the form of new knowledge, improved processes, and greater understanding, but this value can be realised when it is reapplied in future. Sometimes the value of the knowledge can be greater than the value of the product, particularly for prototype products. However few organisations pay as much attention to the knowledge stream as they do to the product stream, where the value is more obvious, more measurable, and delivers in the shorter term.
The smart companies focus on both. They focus on short term value delivery through the product delivery stream, and long term competitive advantage through the knowledge delivery stream. The product delivery stream is managed through the project plan, the knowledge delivery stream is managed through the KM Plan. This will involve looking at the knowledge that needs to be imported to the project, the knowledge that needs to be created by the project, and the knowledge that needs to be output to other projects.
If you are working for a product development company in a KM capacity, your job is to help the company to pay appropriate attention to the knowledge development and delivery stream.