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Agile Knowledge Management: Your Key to Success

written by: johnmcburnie • edited by: Ronda Bowen • updated: 5/23/2013

This article looks at using Agile knowledge management to manage successful projects. Find out what agile projects are and how to use them to your advantage.

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    The Exchange of Knowledge

    Agile knowledge management is a tool that could change the way you manage projects. This idea sounds quite abstract, so what is knowledge management, never mind Agile knowledge management?

    We have increasingly shifted to a knowledge economy. Companies are recognizing that their greatest assets are their workers’ brains. Knowledge management has become an important business practice.

    Knowledge management is the practice of exchanging knowledge among individuals and groups in an organization. This is done through promoting a culture of sharing and providing tools so that knowledge can be easily shared. An important aspect of knowledge management is increasing awareness of knowledge sharing so that collaboration becomes imbedded in an organization’s culture.

    Today's project managers want their team to collaborate so that they gain insights that ultimately promote innovation. Sharing knowledge leads to the creation of new knowledge and greater innovation.

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    The Ability to Move People's Mindsets

    picture Rather like knowledge management, to be “agile” in business has become an important idea in recent years.

    Agility in business is about moving people's mindsets away from hierarchical and document-heavy thinking. This concept has trickled from the board room on down. Instead, an Agile business is a business that encourages collaboration, values the individual over processes and systems, and responds to change rather than rigidly sticking to long-term planning. To be agile in business is not the rolling out of a tool, service or document but it is, instead, a mindset.

    As such, Agile business and knowledge management are an excellent fit. Agile knowledge management is a business practice that promotes collaboration and sharing with no respect for barriers such as traditional hierarchies. Agile knowledge management reacts quickly to change and is an excellent project management tool.

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    Informing the Whole Team

    To manage successful projects it is essential that all activities are under control. For this to happen the project needs openness, and everyone must know what is going on.

    The nature of projects means that there are always a number of stakeholders involved. For the project to be successful stakeholders need to collaborate and share knowledge. For example, if one stakeholder withholds a piece of knowledge that is crucial for the project, the consequences will be damage to the project. This is where Agile knowledge management and project management come in.

    Agile knowledge management has no respect for your position or the long-term goals of your organization; its only concern is that knowledge is shared quickly to promote innovation. Say for example you are an executive with important knowledge that will impact your project. Agile knowledge management dictates that you share this with all appropriate parties. What if an external force means that changes need to be made to your project? Let everyone know and do what needs to be done.

    Being agile can be a major cultural shift for some organizations. Using Agile knowledge management means to really value collaboration and individuals over hierarchies, processes and long-term planning.