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Virtual Product

1 March 2003

Usually, we note that Knowledge Management in the organization is a never ending task. The amount of information is usually correlated to the size of the organization and its tenure: the larger an organization is the larger amount of information flows to it and the older an organization, the more information and in turn insights and experience are accumulated as well.

'Virtual product' is a term which sprang from within the engineering community and refers to the byproduct created beside the development of the product itself. The entire organization focuses on the developed product and somehow, unnoticed, much knowledge and information is accumulated. After delivering the product to the client, what remains in the organization is this byproduct, a virtual product. The documentation package as well as the knowledge in the developers' minds can remain relevant much after the product ends its life. The information and knowledge are property of the organization and have independent value regardless of the state of the physical product. The idea of a virtual product can apply to knowledge and information accumulated through projects in general, including those that did not involve the development of a physical product. If a cellular phone company is selling a service package, the methodology used for creating the packages is a virtual product accompanying the service development. The sky is truly the limit.

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