in categories: project management
Theoretically, lessons learnt exercises should be valuable on every project. There is no point in making the same mistakes that others have made before and there is equally no point in copying the actions of others that have already succeeded.
There are, however, 6 reasons that these exercises fail and projects are left to “make their own mistakes”.
- Few projects start with a review of “what might go wrong and how have others succeeded on similar projects?” This is a good way of starting the briefing for every person or team on the project.
- Failure to capture lessons learnt as they occur: The majority of people only start to prepare a lessons learnt report when a project is near to completion. This means that a lot of things can be forgotten. The better way is to collect the lessons and document them as they occur.
- Failure to identify things that went well, not just the mistakes: By concentrating on success as well as mistakes, you are more likely to encourage successful behaviour. You will also make people more confident about being honest about the things that went wrong.
- Asking too few people about lessons learnt: Too often, it is departmental heads or principals in companies that participate in lessons learnt exercises. It is usually better to involve people that are at the “coal face”. The best thing to do is, therefore, to collaborate widely.
- Failure to communicate the lessons learnt: The key here is to spread the knowledge about lessons learnt to every person and every organisation involved in the project so that they can benefit from the lessons. It is then up to each organisation to disseminate this knowledge to people on new projects, which is the whole purpose of a lessons learnt report!
- Not keeping it brief: If you are going to benefit from lessons learnt, you must keep the report succinct. A long or confusing report will be ignored by participants in future projects, so you will lose all the benefits. Each lesson should have:
- A strong title or description that is understandable.
- A clear paragraph explaining the nature and content of the issue.
- A list and description of the lesson learnt on each issue.
- Recommendations on actions for the future.
by Stuart Weatherall
| 09/09/2016 11:00 |comments powered by Disqus