The Use of Knowledge in Projects

A Discourse on Planning



By Deepak Shrikant, PMP, P.E.

Illinois, USA




In the Nuclear Power Industry regulations are delineated, the standards are explicit, the engineering processes are mature and tested, and organizations are trained to adhere to rules of engagement and the Industry mandates a culture of sharing historical experience to help avoid the pitfalls experienced by others.  The rigor, the discipline, the sharing of experience, and learning from mistakes should all lead to better planning and execution.  However, this does not hold true.   The problem is one of knowing what knowledge a team needs to plan a successful project and how to acquire it from the marketplace.

F. A. von Hayek, the renowned economist, contemplated on the fullest use of knowledge in the planning of economic activities in society and in 1945 published his paper on the subject titled “The Use of Knowledge in Society”1 Hayek postulates that in the marketpalce, people, through the facitlities of communication available to them, come to the resolution of concerns with the formation of a rational order which ensures the best use of available knowledge.

This paper examines Hayek’s discourse on the use of knowledge in society and explains how projects can benefit from it by the creation of a rational order through storyboarding.  It presents a methodology for storyboarding that can capture the very essence of Hayek’s inquiry into planning through six key elements.  It also deliberates Hayek’s postulations and points to examples of success and failures in projects including the work by other scholars who have contributed to the management of knowledge in the Industry as it lays the groundwork for Storyboarding.


Hayek’s discourse on the subject of knowledge dispersement, accumulation and application in society lays the groundwork to planning of complex endeavors in the marketplace.   Projects are essentially the coming together of people with different prespectives whose inputs guide the planning process.   Hayek’s postulations as they apply to planned and focussed activities undertaken by organizations is key to understanding how people build narratives that lead to action.   The process of building and knitting narratives together requires an understanding of all of the elements that Hayek alludes to, along with the nurturing of a thought process that seeks out knowledge.     The six essential elements of Hayek’s observations and postulations that need to be understood and embraced to create the narratives that build the story of the project are:

  1. The rational order
  2. Use of facilities of communications
  3. Dispersed Nature of Knowledge
  4. Habits of Thought
  5. Man on the Spot
  6. The price system

A grounding in Hayek’s discourse is an essential beginning to storyboarding. The arguments presented herein substantiate Hayek’s postulations as it chalks out an approach and methodolgy to storyboarding of projects.

The Problem

Creating a Rational Order

A rational order comprises of people, process, knowledge and technologies available in the marketplace and relevant to the planning effort.  Planning requires the selection of people who understand the flow of information and communication of knowledge in complex networks of people in the Industry and marketplace.  This requires the construction of an organization that understands the creation of the “Rational Order” to harness the knowledge to support the initiative.


To read entire paper, click here

Editor’s note: Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English.  Original publication acknowledged; authors retain copyright.  This paper was originally presented at the 7th Annual University of Maryland PM Symposium in May 2020.  It is republished here with the permission of the author and conference organizers.

How to cite this paper: Shrikant, D. (2020). The Use of Knowledge in Projects: A Discourse on Planning; presented at the 7th Annual University of Maryland Project Management Symposium, College Park, Maryland, USA in May; PM World Journal, Vol. IX, Issue IX, September.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/pmwj97-Sep2020-Shrikant-the-use-of-knowledge-in-projects-2nd-ed.pdf



About the Author

Deepak Shrikant

Illinois, USA


Deepak Shrikant has served in the Nuclear Power Plant Industry for over thirty five years and is currently a Senior Project Manager responsible for large Capital Projects at Exelon Nuclear Generation Company. He was previously the Director of Major Projects at Invensys/Schneider Electric where he was responsible for the delivery of large projects in China, Korea, Canada and the US. In his professional career he has held responsible positions in Corporate Governance, Program and Project Management, Engineering& Construction Management, Business Development, Risk Management and Revenue Stream/Cost Management of Capital Projects. His focus over the last ten years has been on planning large and complex endeavors and developing knowledge-centric approaches to planning. He can be contacted at deepak.shrikant@exeloncorp.com



  1. […] The Use of Knowledge in Projects: A Discourse on Planning By Deepak Shrikant (USA) […]