Knowledge and competence sharing in a project-oriented software company

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Helsinki University of Technology | Diplomityö
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Telecommunications management
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The projects in a project organisation are often recurring in nature, competence gained in one project is usable in the next, and solutions can be reused in subsequent projects. To achieve competitive advantage project organisations need to have efficient knowledge and competence management. The temporal nature of projects and the dispersing project teams when projects reach their end, however, challenge the ability to capture the lesson learnt from projects. In this research the mechanisms and processes that contribute to intra and inter project knowledge and competence sharing are studied. The theoretical part of this research covers knowledge and competence management from the perspective of a project organisation. There is vast literature about both competence and knowledge management but only recent studies incorporate these topics in a project based environment. In project environments communities of practice and networks of people formed by the members of project teams are in a key role when trying to improve knowledge and competence sharing in and between projects. The aim of this study is to identify processes that enhance communication, knowledge sharing and competence transfer in projects and ensure that lessons learnt in one project are captured and passed on into new ones. The empirical part of the research was made in a middle-sized software company. Two projects were chosen for closer examination. Both the case projects were software delivery projects, and one consisted of a project team with members dispersed in three countries. The main research method was theme interviews with members of the project teams. The interviews were complemented with document reviews and observation; the researcher was a member of the project teams in both case projects. Communication and collaboration is the means to knowledge and competence transfer. The competence of a group or project team is greater than the sum of its individuals. The value of networks and communities of practice was clearly seen in the case projects. Informal communities formed without any organisational contribution. Through knowledge brokers, an individual that connects people or has expert knowledge, the development of these networks is largely enhanced. To promote knowledge and competence sharing the organisation needs to systematically analyse, collect and disseminate lessons learnt from projects. From the results a model for the development of a knowledge and competence sharing culture in a project based organisation was created.
Smeds, Riitta
Thesis advisor
Holmberg, Andrea
knowledge management, kunskap, competence management, kompetens, project organisation, projekt, communities of practice, projektorganisationer, professionella nätverk
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