I have been in two session recently where the debate goes on about the role of knowledge management in legal project management. (Aside: Funny how we attached the label ‘legal’ to PM these days to make the distinction; but we don’t do the same with KM. Anyway, back to the main purpose of this post.) One KM lawyer asked — is LPM (or PM) going to replace KM as the term? is KM dead?
Let me offer the following positions:
- KM practitioners need to use PM in the same way they use other tools and frameworks such as information technology (IT) and KM frameworks themselves
- KM and PM are not synonymous. To say they are would be to equate two words – project and knowledge – and to treat these words as interchangeable. PM is not a new name for KM! [@ShyAlter suggests: “Integral” as opposed to “synonymous”]
- KM should no more drive PM than IT should drive KM. These are different but interrelated disciplines that must learn to work together in a symbiotic fashion — all for the good of the Firm.
- There is a key element of projects that is about project and process knowledge – that is the overlap with Knowledge Management.
- Indeed, knowledge can (and should) be embedded in project management practices; in the form of checklists and templates which provide scaffolding for matters cases or engagements.
- KM practitioners should be helping lawyers / attorneys share expertise or project knowledge just as they do other project knowledge.
And finally, this is not about philosophy, as one attorney suggested, but about role definition and clarity — essential elements in organizational design and organizational behaviour.
Great points, Joel. And good contribution at the Ark KM Conference today.
Another thought: should legal professionals call it “Matter Management” or “Case Management” or “Deal Management” – lawyers don’t have “projects” after all. Maybe it’s all just semantics.