Yesterday I attended the launch of the Major Projects Knowledge Hub.
For those who don't know the Major Projects Association (MPA), it's a membership association outside of government, set up for organisations engaged in the delivery and the development of major projects, programmes and portfolios. The Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) and many other departments quite often partner with the MPA on initiatives that will help raise capability in project delivery in the UK. The Major Projects Knowledge Hub (MPKH), is one of those initiatives. I’ve been liaising with Jonathan Norman and Karen Elson who have been leading on this, for many months, so it was great to be there last night, showing our support, when it all finally launched.
The MPKH is one of those initiatives that can really benefit everyone, whether they work in government or outside. It does this by bringing two things together that we are all familiar with, lessons learned and communities.
The work we have been doing in the cross government sharing knowledge working group for the past year, has proven without a doubt that lessons learned, if just compiled and left on their own, don’t get used. You need to have real people, with 'I was there' insights attached to those lessons. Someone you can pick up the phone and call or meet for a coffee, because after all, noone can write down all that they know. But to get that sort of sharing happening you have to have trust and you don’t get trust unless you are part of a community.
So very sensibly, Karen and Jonathan have drawn in a large number of organisations, public bodies and project delivery practitioners, and have delivered a digital site that consists of two elements:
- A knowledge repository- where users can access and add insight from their own major projects in a way that allows the material to be freely used, modified and further shared; a sort of really, really easy to use lessons learned data base.
- A major projects community- an online community group, hosted on Knowledge Hub.net, just like all our Government Project Delivery Community (govpdc) groups are. So it’s a place where people can communicate, interact and connect directly with their peers.
It all sounds fine in theory doesn’t it, but for this to work and for people like us, working in government, to benefit from it-not only does that knowledge repository need to have some really good stuff in it from day one, but that community needs to consist of people who have some really rich major projects experience. The good news is, that they have done both of the above. Already in the MPKH, they have loaded up some really good Major Projects Association content, but also users of the site have already added insights and lessons from a whole range of other sources, e.g. Crossrail and London 2012 Learning Legacies.
On the community side, Jonathan and his team of facilitators (a mix of private sector and public sector) have got the online group off to an excellent start. They’ve used the lessons we’ve learnt with the Government Project Delivery Community (GovPDC), to overcome some of the early difficulties of building online communities and are in great position to make the Major Projects Knowledge Hub group a really useful community of practice that we could all benefit from.
If you have read this far, I hope you are up for going and having a look at the MPKH, joining up and perhaps sharing some of your own insights too. Getting involved in collaborations like this can really make a difference. But before you get down to the link at the bottom of the page, here’s a few words from Jonathan that I jotted down last night.
“The benefits, if we can realise them, are substantial. Faster problem solving; access to pertinent data and experience for any organization trying something for the first time; a culture of sharing and collaboration that will break down siloes inside the business; employees who are instilled with an understanding of risk and opportunity and motivated to continually question and improve. And the benefits should extend to the UK PLC; with better projects; improved return on investment and the growth of the kind of skills that both industry and government require for us to succeed post-Brexit.”
To visit the Major Projects Knowledge Hub click the picture below