Pavel Nakonechnyy

How to distinguish Process Management and Knowledge Management for Inexperienced Managers and Team Leaders

Published in Project Management.

How to distinguish Process Management and Knowledge Management for Inexperienced Managers and Team Leaders

Being a manager or Team Leader, you will inevitably meet working with the team’s processes and knowledge. Techniques such as Scrum, Agile, and Kanban can help you with processes, and knowledge management software like Confluence can help you simplify Knowledge Management

As Team knowledge often complements Teams’ processes, a problem arises: how to split information about a real set of actions a team member executes into formal Processes and informal Team knowledge.

One point of view is that any information lacking which presents risks to the process objectives is process-related information and must be included in the procedure.

A risk is the effect of uncertainty on projects and organizational objectives. Therefore, the lack of any related information presents a risk. Can you hope to include any possible team knowledge in the procedure? No. There must be a dividing line.

 

  Team process Team knowledge
Term Team process – a set of actions one or more team members take to resolve their task demands and achieve goals Team knowledge – is collected knowledge among a group of employees, and their common understanding of situations and ideal solutions
Held Held in policies and procedures Usually held in Knowledge Management systems such as Confluence
Changed Only with formal amendments Often can be modified by any team member
Information Process-related information describes the order of actions that team members take compliant with existing policies and procedures, including Risks and Control Team Knowledge describes the exact way each action is performed correctly including technical information about the involved systems
Information character Formal Informal or semi-formal

Here are 5 tips that will help you understand how to work with process-related information and team knowledge:

 

  1. When is it time to create a process from the project’s steps?

As soon as you have performed the same steps twice in different projects, it is time to document them as a process. Then new projects will employ existing processes to deliver objectives quickly and in an organized manner. Don’t make the Project Manager reinvent the wheel.

 

  1. What information should I save in the Knowledge Base?

You should save any information related to the current or future inventory of the team. If you use the Git repository to version control code and find out a storage limit is 10GB – write it down somewhere.

 

  1. How to distinguish information about a process from the team’s knowledge?

A process describes actions a specialist takes to achieve a result. For example, if his goal were to schedule a new script, then a process would be the upload of the script to a remote server and scheduling it using dedicated software.

Information on the way a system works is NOT a subject to process. Its place is in the Knowledge Base, not in Policy or Procedure. Don’t update teams’ procedures each time a system is modified as long as the workflow stays the same.

 

  1. How can I provide additional information about the system’s peculiarities to the person executing the process?

In this case, I’d recommend you make an extended version of a process stored in a team’s Playbook. When writing such a Playbook, follow these Rules:

  1. To be useful, Playbook should have all the details to eliminate the practical need to read a procedure when executing the process.
  2. To be trustworthy, Playbook must always comply with active policies and procedures and be updated as soon as source processes change.

 

  1. When do I stop improving already documented processes?

The short answer is – never. Long answer – it depends. As you know, Process Management is an incremental process that includes continual improvement of processes as long as you use them. As soon as the process fulfils the needs of team members and external stakeholders (such as Controls), you can stop improving it. Nonetheless, there will be a time when the process will stop being 100% correct then you will have to update it once again.

 

Both Process Management and Knowledge Management are inevitable parts of everyday work for managers and Team Leaders. You can optimize it, but you should never get rid of them. Every recently promoted manager or Team Lead must understand the difference between Process Management and Knowledge Management to make the work of his reports more effective.

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