Selling knowledge management to project stakeholders by Tiziano Villa

Selling knowledge management to project stakeholders by Tiziano Villa

Speaker: Tiziano Villa


PMLAB - Milan

Tuesday, 8 May - 16.00–17.15 - 1 hour, 15 minutes

Summary: Knowledge is a key asset for managing projects. Engagement of project stakeholders towards knowledge dimension is a CSF. Knowledge engagement depends on stakeholder profile. This presentation explores strategies the project manager could apply for selling the value of knowledge management to project stakeholders and for enhancing their commitment.Learning objectives

maurel-celine.jpgReport by: 

Céline Maurel, PMP

France Sud Chapter


Selling knowledge management to project stakeholders by Tiziano Villa


How to define project knowledge and how it can be managed?

Knowledge is a complex topic where lessons learned are only the tip of the iceberg!

Knowledge is justified true beliefs related to human action and logically formalized. Created at individual level, knowledge is shared and exploited at group, organization and inter-organization levels. When knowledge is personal and context-specific, hard to formalize and to communicate, it refers to tacit knowledge and when it’s easily transmittable, it refers to explicit knowledge.  The spiral model theory from Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) is based on iterative conversions between explicit and tacit knowledge at each level from individual to inter-organizational level.

Knowledge is a critical success factor for project value but it is still missing in action! Knowledge can be managed along the project life cycle: at WBS updates, for cost and time estimates, to analyze performance measurements and forecasts, to assess change requests, to define risk responses or to resolve issues. How to sell knowledge management to each category of project stakeholder?

Tiziano Villa states that the performance of an organization in delivering projects is highly related to its knowledge management maturity.

What are the PM strategies to sell knowledge management?

To the project sponsor: highlight the business perspective:

  • Cluster the projects according to a knowledge perspective.
  • Elect the projects that will be carried out with knowledge management: the complex and dynamic ones.
  • Present to the project board a Cost-Benefit analysis focused on knowledge management.
  • Monitor and evaluate the cost/benefit ratio performed by eligible projects.

To the PMO: highlight the optimization viewpoint:

  • Formalize knowledge management activities.
  • Define knowledge management roles, processes and technologies.

To the project team members: highlight the knowledge development stand point:

  • Catch opportunities to improve team member’s interactions and collaborations: team members are knowledge workers.
  • Facilitate teamwork and networkings (join or create Communities of Practice).

To the customer: highlight the quality perspective

  • Foster the customer to share information, insights and mental models to make sure everyone is on the same page.

All these strategies if well performed induce positive side effects on other stakeholders.

Conclusion: Knowledge management is sharing, curiosity, collective discussions, story-telling, celebration of successes and many more! That’s why true engagement of all project stakeholders in this area energizes and sharpens the commitment to the objectives.