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Project knowledge management

The word “project” can be defined as any product or service, which is unique in nature and has a definite scope of work, budget and performance level attributed to it. The knowledge management related to any such project deals with the phases, actions, processes and templates according to which it shall be executed. Efficient management of knowledge makes it easier for organisations to understand the way things work and helps them distinguish the various ways in which they can opt to function. Project managers are the individuals responsible for improving the knowledge management methods. They are also entrusted with the task of ensuring that the intended goals are met on time. They make this happen by combining the existing elements with the newly acquired knowledge of the workers. However, several risks are also associated with project knowledge management, several of which have been discussed as follows.

Examples of risks in project knowledge management

Knowledge continuity risks

This kind of project knowledge management risk deals with the capability of an organisation to maintain its integral abilities and to ensure the consistency of its performance with the addition and elimination of people within the enterprise. For example, this holds true especially for those responsibilities that require specialised skills, experience or expertise. In case there is no individual available to make it possible to have a plan of continuity in place, the host organisation may even scramble, and find it difficult to recover (Urbancova and Königova, 2010).

Retirement is not the only way through which this risk can arise. It has been often observed that corporate restructuring is an even higher risk to project knowledge management. The Asia-Pacific is one such region, which faces this issue (Lambe, 2013). On the other hand, North America and other regions of the world face a knowledge continuity risk mostly due to the retirement of the important workforce personnel.

Knowledge acquisition risks

This kind of project knowledge management risk deals with the capacity of an organisation to procure the new knowledge that is necessary to help navigate it in a new direction. For example, when an enterprise intends to launch or develop a new product or service in any given new market, it is imperative that it conducts thorough research in order to ensure that the business can run successfully and incur minimal losses (Li, Liu and Liu, 2011).

Large-scale enterprises usually proceed by acquiring smaller companies that already have the necessary level of expertise and skill. In other words, they do this in an inorganic manner. The organic method, that is, hiring of new workers with the requisite skills and qualifications, is done occasionally. The challenge in this case is that a sufficient amount of knowledge needs to be acquired to be able to successfully build on the new capabilities and integrate them into the existing infrastructure of the organisation.

Knowledge outsourcing risks

This kind of project knowledge management risk deals with the IT support, human resources, customer service and several other aspects of an organisation, when they are essentially outsourced to a third party. It is often necessary for an enterprise to undertake knowledge transfer with the help of outsourcees, and an experienced employee is often appointed to look over the team of third-party workers.

However, staff turnover and knowledge continuity have been very poor in many cases for outsourcing, which has paved the way for low quality performance, ultimately leading to the scattering of the client base for the organisation (Jimmy Gandhi, Gorod and Sauser, 2012). The ability to respond to the changing needs deteriorates, which leads to an issue often termed as the loss of organisational knowledge. In the current business scenarios, outsourcing has proved to be quite disastrous, which has reversed this trend and encourages most major enterprises to stick to in-sourcing for their most vital tasks.

Knowledge articulation risks

This kind of project knowledge management risk deals with an organisation’s ability to mobilise, combine, exploit and leverage the knowledge that it already has access to. The most common problems that sometimes need to be overcome in initiatives related to project knowledge management are covered under articulation and the associated risks (Lambe, 2013). For example, knowledge of the existing market is quite critical, and it is important to capture the relevant facts and data, which if not done efficiently, can lead to poor performance and fault decision-making.

The risks associated with knowledge articulation also deal with the methods of communication – it is important for members to pass on the information they have learnt to the other departments of the organisation. If this does not happen, it becomes difficult to change the work processes and hinders the learning methods as well.


The project knowledge management risks that have been mentioned and exemplified are related to the strategic capabilities of an organisation, and it is important for any enterprise to undergo rigorous processes to identify and mitigate the same. A structured knowledge management strategy can often aid in the process, and the presence of such a process can help minimise the risks and encourage the seamless functioning of the different departments.


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