Explicit knowledge is a term used in Knowledge Management to define a specific type of information. Typically, knowledge is split into Explicit Knowledge and Tacit Knowledge.
Unlike Tacit Knowledge which can be difficult to express or document, Explicit Knowledge defines information that can be represented using documents, charts and numbers.
Explicit Knowledge can be found in different forms in a project, usually, it will be in a specification document or a process document that can be used by other project team members. If Explicit Knowledge has been expressed or documented properly, other people should be able to understand the information or follow a process without prior experience of the topic.
The purpose of recording and managing Explicit Knowledge is to ensure that the information is not tied to an individual on a project. The need to record this knowledge is often triggered by a risk on the project that identifies some information is only known to one or a few team members. Should those team members leave the project team, the knowledge could be lost.
Benefits of recording Explicit Knowledge can help other team members performance when that knowledge helps them carry out their assigned task. It can prevent bottlenecks where some team members are repeatedly involved in certain tasks because they are the only individuals that have the knowledge to carry it out.
When Explicit Knowledge is recorded effectively, it can provide benefits beyond the completion of the project to help with support or problem-solving in the future.
The Knowledge and Information Management processes within a project provide ways to store and access this information when needed. This information can be found in Lessons Learnt registers, project documentation libraries and document management systems.
Sharing the Explicit Knowledge and providing easy ways for the project team to access the information is essential to ensure team members know where to obtain the knowledge when needed.