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Knowledge Management

The other Jack is talking about Brian's article about knowledge management and project management failing because people resist them because they don't feel comfortable. This is making me think I should jump in just to confuse things. Why can't people feel comfortable with the new changes? Why do KM and PM applications have to feel draconian and power-sucking? Is it not possible to devise a system that people are comfortable with? Something that helps them without exposing them? The search engine is a good example of this. Generally search is nearly anonymous. If you run across a problem or someone asks you a question you can google it and find an answer very quickly and not have to ask a stupid or embarassing question of another person.

In the case of a project management system isn't it possible to craft an application that allows you to manage your work (simply and easily) and not have it feel like someone is watching you with a stop watch? I think it should be. But detail freaks like to know what you are doing every waking hour so this will probably never happen.

As for KM. THIS is my solution to KM. I post stuff here. People can find it (by searching among other things). It has very low effort for me to post anything and it offers basic categorization and date based archiving. I can reach it anywhere there is a network connection. A KM application shouldn't feel like an application at all. It should just be.

OK, I'm leaving out some critical details like only a percent or two are actually motivated to share their thoughts - or perhaps even HAVE thoughts so that is perhaps the reason KM is a moribund endeavor, but making it easy, making it obvious, making it private/anonymous when it is useful to be private and making it familiar are all good things for both scheduling and km applications and processes.


Comments (2)

You are asking the wrong question. It is not the design of the software that is the problem. Not at the core anyway. (certainly the software plays a strong role) It is resistance to change that the software requires that is the problem. I honestly feel that it would not matter what the software was, if it required a change from the users normal patterns then it would be resisted. That was my whole point. It is not the software. It is the process.


Ah, but if the change is not perceived as intrusive or bothersome then the resistance may be reduced. My point is that it has to be a gentle change to the user's normal patterns. Yes, the fact that the process requiress drastic and unwanted change is the problem, but software should be able to help with this, not make it more difficult. I offer examples like search engines and excel and other "successful" software as examples of how people have adopted change without coersion. People did change their processes because the tools allowed them to do it. Not because the they were forced to do so by some Enterprise Project Office populated by newly minted PMP's who are "implementing".

Yes, my point is to ask how software can help change, not hinder it. Is it possible or are PM and KM fundamentally as unwanted as a trip to the dentist?

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