Technology Project Authority (TPA), established in 2000, is state level government agency in the USA. It was created with one of the mandates to promote collaborative IT environment across agencies. In order to do that, TPA decided to lead through example strategy by demonstrating collaboration within own departments. This knowledge management system was based on Microsoft Project Server combined with SharePoint Server to form a system named as SharePoint Project. However, TPA’s own department is not participative with its usage, with only 12% of project managers and their teams actually used SharePoint Project system in last three months.
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TPA, before implementation, found that its employees are very enthusiastic about knowledge sharing as they had great expectations in extracting positive outcomes from knowledge management system. Except, after implementation there were many problems relating to knowledge sharing, like, less use of IT for knowledge sharing, feeling of loss of ownership and electronic repository was becoming over crowded that it became increasingly difficult, and time consuming to find out a file or information. These issues related major concerns for the organization and hindrance in its mission of leading through example. Along with these problems, the attitude of employees towards was of major concern, backed up with lack of training and counselling. Rita, director of IT department, is concerned about the situation and is trying to figure out the problems, and solution to those problems. In doing so, she called upon a meeting of major stakeholders involved in implementation of this project to put forth their insights because TPA has to defend their case in front of the State Governor.
1: Technology Project Authority (TPA) tried to lead through example by implementing this system within their departments. Other than, the implementation was successful, but usage of this system was very low, almost 12%.
2: There are many problems associated with the usage of systems. Some of these problems are attitude towards ownership, difficulty in finding data, general structure, accessing the SharePoint, people not knowing if the document is recent and many more.
3: Now, TPA implemented Microsoft Project Server by combining it with SharePoint but, is it really the solution to fix these problems and what can be the possible solution to proceed on their mission of leading through example.
TPA has faced these problems because of some flaws in the process of implementation. They were following a process of implementation and training, where many of their project managers were busy enough to attend these training sessions. If they were provided with the proper training, there would have been an increase in usage of this knowledge hub. It was because of lack of training that, there was redundancy within the shared data as employees were unaware of its proper usages. The implementation of this project was divided into three phases, and it appears that this planning was not proactive, with identification of potential problems.
The phases were initiated with the arrival of problem. When employees found it hard to find the data, the SharePoint was planned to combine with the Microsoft Project Server. Before that, SharePoint was implemented as a result of lack of usage in IT to share knowledge from the TPA’s employees. Organization should have been proactive with the volume of data it's dealing with and evaluation of possible problems and their solutions.
It was because of lack of training and short coming in cultural management that people were not willing to share their piece of the project with others in fear of losing ownership of their work or project. Implementation of SharePoint Project, combination of SharePoint Server and Microsoft Project server, has many advantages, over the pervious knowledge management system.
It relates and covers on many of the problems faced when using SharePoint Server. It solves most of the problems posed from the previous system, like more detail about the project and it automatically integrates the data from various sources. It’s a good move from TPA, but again it misses the training aspect with mentoring and counselling. When TPA conducted the survey almost 98% of the employees were very sure about the usefulness knowledge management system.
This presents one with the view that the plan was appropriate but the execution of the plan was not to the point. There were flaws, either in implementation, or there was a lack of congruency with problems and their solutions. The discussion of Rita with major stakeholders helped identification of these problems, but they never discussed upon the possible solutions. However, the discussion was well versed and well informed, so it gave a clear picture to Rita for identification of solutions and the action plan.
TPA was instructed by the state governor to promote knowledge sharing and collaboration across governmental agencies. TPA tried to lead through example by implementing the knowledge sharing system within its own departments. This idea failed with least participation in knowledge sharing because of problems like data redundancy, threat of loss of ownership, overcrowded data repository etc. TPA combined SharePoint and Microsoft Project server to make it easy to share, store, and reduce redundancy.
Again, it has a problem of access, with few personals able to access from few sites. It appears that choosing and implementation process was not proactive and lacked training and counselling of employees. Before that, the solutions were not congruent to problems or the project execution was not right. As a result, there is no improvement or change of attitude in usage of knowledge sharing hub. Rita, as head of the project, after a through discussion, has identified the problem and is now ready to present her stance in front or the executives. These discussions were very fruitful with identification of major short comings.
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