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Lessons Learnt or Opportunities Lost

Lessons Learnt or Opportunities Lost

A blog by Pamela Yates

“The measure of a successful lessons learnt exercise is not the number of “lessons” identified but the relevance, quality and impact of the recommendations that you can pass on to future readers.” The BA Times has an interesting article about the Lessons Learnt process.

Most project team members are familiar with the process to identify, document, analyse and store lessons learnt. But if the organisation through the Programme Office does not have a central Lessons Learnt register, it is very difficult to analyse lessons learnt across projects. This results in repeating the mistakes of the past and losing the opportunity to make changes to the way projects are run to avoid problems in the future. Every new Project Manager should be provided access to the Lessons Learnt register and use the knowledge to inform the project plans. This is doubly important for those Project Managers who are new to the organisation. The Lessons Learnt can provide an insight into the organisations culture and values.

A new learning environment needs to be endorsed throughout the company and sponsored by executive management. A process of analysing lessons learnt across projects over the past six months, identifying how to ensure mistakes are not made again, and reporting to and requesting support from Senior Management is crucial. Project Managers and project teams should understand that it is their responsibility to review previous lessons learnt and questions asked if similar mistakes are repeated. Process and procedures should be implemented to make sure that the lessons are used or that the project manager is held accountable for a recurrence of a lesson that was learnt in a historical project.

Retaining project knowledge and establishing a continuous improvement effort are vital activities for a Programme or Project Office. Keeping costs low, schedules on time, and activities closely monitored is critical, as mistakes and rework are costly. The benefits gained by mining the value of lessons learnt can help avoid the risks involved in reworking projects and in repeating the same mistakes or problems continuously. This must be of value to all organisations.

The PMI have an interesting article on taking the lessons learnt to the next level.

Posted on: November 27, 2018
A blog by Pamela Yates