Friday 8 January 2016

KM at BP - a new look

A lot has been published about Knowledge Management at British Petroleum. Most of this published material is over a decade old.  Here's something new.

There are plenty of case studies, slidesets and papers written about the early days of KM at BP.  They all tell a great story, but things have moved on since the first KM program came to an end at the turn of the millenium.

There is one source which describes KM at BP now, and that is an article written by Wendy Valot for Offshore Technology magazine. In this article, Wendy describes the robust KM Framework used in BP's Upstream Business Segment, which covers Exploration and Production of Oil and Gas.

Wendy identifies the following Knowledge Management Framework elements:
  • A "KM Policy" known as the KM Guidelines for Exploration and Production (E&P)
  • Communities of practice for each key discipline, for discussing knowledge
  • A set of codified "best practices" for the 100 or more disciplines and subcategories of work
  • A routine process of collecting lessons learned from application of those practices
  • A validation process for the new lessons
  • Valuation of each lesson
  • A process of knowledge management planning at the start of each project
  • KM embedded in daily work
  • Senior management paying serious attention to the application of KM.
The approach Wendy describes is a mature and embedded complete KM Framework within BP, which represents a real advance from the early days of the late 1990s.

The key is in the embedding. As Wendy says;
"The bare minimum for KM is to make KM strategy a reality: to ensure that people are out there applying the best knowledge that BP has, in a consistent manner throughout the world"

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