The APQC Blog

What Process Management and Knowledge Management Have in Common

I’ve got a confession: Because I’m a “process person” I didn’t expect to be embraced by the attendees at APQC’s recent Knowledge Management (KM) conference.

For years, I’ve noticed similarities between the disciplines of process and KM. I’ve seen numerous instances in which what some organizations believed to be a knowledge issue was really an underlying broken process or the result of immature process management. And, we’ve found process variances occurred when those charged with execution either don’t know what to do or how to do it – i.e., they had a knowledge gap. And some basic methodologies, such as knowledge maps, can be helpful for both process and knowledge management efforts.

But despite those connections, I’d sheepishly hid my process experience and passion when among KM folks. I wanted to fit in. I didn’t think they’d get me. And then I had an epiphany.

I was describing MosaiQ™ to a KM practitioner and his eyes lit up. “I can embed knowledge assets in the flow of our business!”

Let me take a moment and translate KM -speak:  MosaiQ integrates all of APQC’s Process Classification Framework® (PCF), open standards benchmarks and knowledge base content into a single cloud-based environment.  In other words, he was excited by the prospect of picking and choose the PCF elements most relevant for a business unit, process team, community of practice, or any other group, and then imbed APQC’s stuff (diagnostic benchmarks and best practice case studies) and his organization’s stuff (lessons learned documents, manuals, and other documents) into each framework element.

As a process guy, MosaiQ is a dream fulfilled. It simplifies disparate pieces of the process management puzzle – proving a single view of process steps, governance, performance, and improvement options. But it wasn’t until I saw it through the eyes of my new KM friend that I realized its potential beyond the world of process. When he said “the flow of our business”, he was talking about his organization’s processes.

The same age-old issue of how to connect people with the most relevant process frameworks, flow charts and other process documentation is the same challenge faced within KM. Go visit with your organization’s KM team; they’ll say one of their biggest challenges is getting the right information into the right hands at the right time.

In short, your organization’s process and knowledge functions are facing the same challenges and can use similar tools to help them overcome their obstacles. Both functions compliment the other. There’s no reason to sheepishly hide like I did. You might make a new friend in the process.

And if nothing else, KM people know how to party almost as much as process people.