Thursday, 30 October 2014

The 3 types of Knowledge Collateral

All projects deliver not just a product, but knowledge as well. Part of any Knowledge Management policy therefore has to be a definition of the expected Knowledge Collateral, or Knowledge output, from project work.  This knowledge collateral is distinct from any information products.

There are three main types of Knowledge Collateral, which should be carefully defined in the project Knowledge Management plan.

  1. Better ways of doing things. These are recorded as Lessons throughout the project, and especially at the end of project stages. The lessons will be entered into the company Lessons Management System, and fed through into process improvements. For product development projects, there may also be product improvements that were introduced, and these can be documented as Toyota-style A3 sheets, and stored in the product folder. 
  2. Good examples. These are project outputs that are "best in class" and can be offered to other projects as templates. They will be stored in the knowledge base associated with that process.
  3. Knowledge that is needed further down the value chain. The project may deliver "information products" like installation manuals, as-built designs and so on, but in addition there may need to be knowledge products. These will describe WHY products were designed the way they were (captured in documents such as Basis of Design, or the Rolls Royce Decision Rationale editor, or may capture HOW knowledge such as how best to sell, maintain, install or operate products. 

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