Creating learning organizations by using program management.
“Projects are one-time efforts in the organizations. As they are finished, all the resources including the people are adjourned. Then what happens to the knowledge gained by these people. What remains to the organization from this knowledge?” asked Murad Bayar, CEO and Board Member of CCN Holding Infrastructure Investments and Construction, to explain the reason why he chose the title of his presentation as “Learning Organizations” at PMI Turkey Chapter’s 2017 annual congress.
But really, what happens to the knowledge – not only information but also the experience – gained as projects come to an end? Yes, projects deliver products, services, or results, and organizations aim to reach their strategic objectives and their vision by the deliverables of the projects.
Are organizations aware of the knowledge gained during the life cycle of a project or any other operational work? And do they maximize the positive effects of it?
Programs aim to obtain benefits by managing related projects, subsidiary programs, and program activities in a coordinated manner. These benefits cannot be obtained from managing projects individually. PMI’s Standard For Program Management 4th Edition mentions this definition of a program and emphasizes that programs deliver benefits. Since each activity in the organization from projects to operations has the potential to create knowledge that will support the growth of the organization by realizing new benefits, can’t we start a program to capture the knowledge created by the projects, subsidiary programs, activities, and operations?
Yes, we can! Organizations should use a program management approach to achieve knowledge transfer and to gain greater benefits for the organization. Knowledge transfer is the crucial key in making an organization a learning one. The following challenges are common across all attempts to transfer knowledge:
- Identifying and capturing knowledge for an employee during operational work or executing a project is not a first priority;
- Organizational culture and environment may not give priority to knowledge capture;
- More variety of disciplines are getting involved in the projects, which increases the complexity and presents problems to global relevance of knowledge capture;
- Increasing pace of projects.
These challenges can be overcome by initiating a program that aims to realize the benefits emerging from knowledge transfer.
The defined program’s intended benefit should be to identify and capture the knowledge created by people working in projects, programs, and operations which will help the organization to reach its strategic goals. If your organization currently does not have a structure to transfer knowledge, then applying this approach will boost the benefits gained in a very short time.
Mustafa Hafizoglu, PMP, BS, M.Sc., is the co-founder and previous President of the PMI Chapter in Turkey, Program Director at Space & Defence Technologies Co., a part-time instructor at Middle East Technical University. He has 20 years of experience in hardware and software development projects, in the aerospace and defense industry. Mustafa established the PMO at SDT Space and Defense Tech and co-authored the book: Project Management Analytical Approaches. He’s also a speaker atPMI Global Congress and various international seminars. Mustafa writes about program management and risk management.