Implementing a Framework for Knowledge Management
- Peter Gibby | Walter A. Palen (BP plc) | Donald Paul Dressler (Enterprise Performance Group) | Sarah Hensley (Fifth Business)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference, 5-8 November, Abu Dhabi, UAE
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 2006. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 2 Well Completion, 7.6.6 Artificial Intelligence, 7.3.3 Project Management, 6.1.5 Human Resources, Competence and Training, 4.2 Pipelines, Flowlines and Risers, 1.6.9 Coring, Fishing, 7.6.1 Knowledge Management, 4.3.4 Scale
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Corporate knowledge is the asset enabling an organization to take effective action, and make crucial decisions correctly. A key challenge for business leaders is how to engage everyone in the processes of knowledge capture, sharing and application. Increasingly, the notion of an internal knowledge economy is becoming a reality for many companies as they strive to become distinctive from the competition.
People and human behavior are at the core of KM. Robust approaches to leverage the collective knowledge of an organization must be adopted entity-wide in order to affect high standards of capture, transfer and application. If KM is to be successful, the organization must be given a clear framework to guide, support, monitor and continuously improve the integration of collective know-how in pursuit of specific business goals.
This paper describes a framework for managing knowledge, which is becoming increasingly adopted within BP's Exploration & Production (E&P) business segment. The Major Projects Knowledge Framework addresses the governance of knowledge as well as the support elements (people, process and technology) necessary to ensure knowledge is applied as needed, when needed and in a format that is usable by others.
Knowledge is a synthesis of data, information and experience. Proper management of knowledge is critical to the survival and development of any organization. Organizations that fail to learn and continuously improve quickly lose position to the competition. For large corporations such as BP, the stakes are high and the consequences for not continuously improving are unacceptable. Within BP, the Major Projects community in the E&P business segment has revitalized its approach to the learning cycle. The dictate of "learn before, during and after?? to any major activity is important. This concept is depicted in Fig. 1.
In 2006, BP E&P will make significant capital investments across a global portfolio of more than 70 major projects in differing stages of development. A major project in BP is defined as a BP capital investment greater than U.S. $100 million. The key drivers for reinvigorating the Major Projects community approach to knowledge management (KM) were as follows:
- The nature of the capital investment portfolio. The pace, scope and scale of the individual projects coupled with technology challenges present high risk and high rewards to the BP Group. Many projects face similar risks and opportunities which can be more efficiently addressed through collaboration and sharing of critical knowledge and experiences within and across project teams.
- A need to define and embed the BP way of doing projects across a global organization made up of individuals from different heritage pasts. Through merger and acquisition in the late 1990s, BP E&P is made up of individuals who formerly worked in BP, Amoco, ARCO and Vastar. In the Major Projects community differences lingered in how people approached project management. By 2004, it was time to consolidate and leverage the best of the best into one approach. Knowledge management is viewed as critical underpinning to continuous improvement, delivery and operation of single approach to project management.
- Recognition that many of BP's project teams tended to solve problems in parallel rather than in collaboration, with the risk of relearning lessons or losing opportunity.
- Without care, the age demographics of the Major Projects community threaten loss of critical "know how?? when people retire.
Global spread of the projects portfolio, a corporate desire to be inclusive and also to be the "Local Energy Company?? - a regionally based Exploration and Production business, fully integrated with local suppliers and contractors. KM is seen as a key enabler for people to contribute to these goals. Everyone has a part to play.
The history of KM in BP is a long one. The Major Projects community KM initiative took into account past BP KM successes before embarking on change. It was important that the Major Projects community incorporated what had earlier worked well for others into their design for KM.
The resultant model for KM is described in this paper as the Major Projects Knowledge Framework. This framework defines the governance mechanisms and the supporting systems by which project teams in the Major Projects community learn before, during and after critical activities.
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