Product life-cycle management (PLCM) is a well-established discipline. To support this, we are going to need Product life-cycle knowledge management.
In industry, product lifecycle management is the process of managing the entire lifecycle of a product from inception, through engineering design and manufacture, to service and disposal of manufactured products. Industry has already made big strides with using shared data systems to support the lifecycle of a product. Similar strides can be made in using Knowledge Management approaches.
PLCKM differs from standard practice-based KM.
- Instead of Communities of Practice, we need to look at Communities of Product (or Product line, or product family). The Community members will cover the lifecycle of the product; from development through manufacturing through sales to service and maintenance,and back to redevelopment.
- Instead of Best Practice, we look at Best Design
- Knowledge is passed along the value chain; downstream from development to manufacturing, from sales to service, and back upstream from service to development.
- The key knowledge is mostly "Why" knowledge - why the product was designed the way it was, why design changes were made, why the marketing has taken the chosen approach, why failures happen in service, and so on.
- The taxonomy will not be a practice-based taxonomy, but will align with the product tree
- Some of the KM processes will be different as well. Specifically the A3 report will replace the After Action Review.
For those of us who are working in a product-based organisation and who are looking to introduce KM into a PLCM structure, we need to be thinking in terms of Product Lifecycle Knowledge Management.