Agile Knowledge Management at the General Services Administration’s Public Buildings Service

The Project Management Institute (PMI), the foremost leader in project management best practices, has released a knowledge management pilot study conducted by the General Services Administration (GSA), Public Building Service (PBS) in their Rocky Mountain Region, that leverages existing applications to harness their knowledge management capabilities towards a long term solution for this immense organization. You can read the study published by PMI here.

The General Services Administration’s (GSA’s) Public Buildings Service (PBS) needed better knowledge management (KM) approaches for supporting their building maintenance, leasing, construction, and renovation projects delivered annually across the United States. A national KM team was formed and conducted an internal inventory of potential KM approaches. Google Sites/websites and Salesforce Chatter were available within PBS as potential KM tools, and were subsequently configured to support a KM pilot program with Region 8 property managers. After the successful pilot, additional KM initiatives using combinations of the Google Sites/Chatter format were developed as part of the current KM initiative, and as independent initiatives. This rapid piloting approach was later referred to by the team leadership as “Agile Knowledge Management,” given its emphasis on the customization of preexisting/prepaid software tools for quickly meeting the information needs of PBS professionals. Lessons learned and critical succes factors included the importance of sustained leadership support; the availability of cost effective tools that can be easily customized to serve users; dedicated staffing to coordinate regular system maintenance and updates; and direct team dialogue for sustaining agility in fluid or turbulent organizational environments.