Transfer Your Lessons Learned


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Our blog series – “Master Project Management” covers some of the essentials of the art and science of project management. It talks about defining true needs, building a solid team, and performing a financial analysis. It addresses how you can find the right balance points between extremes like “managing everything vs. managing nothing” and “doing work yourself vs. letting the team do everything.” This series will help develop the foundation you need to become a high performing project manager.

Transfer Your “Lessons Learned”

One of the best ways to spread the benefits of your project beyond the project boundaries and support continuous improvement in project management in your organization is in the form of a lessons-learned study.

The first part of a lessons-learned study is for your team to review documentation about problems related to project management that you captured throughout your project. If such notes were not kept, review meeting agendas and records to see if they spark any memories.

The second part is expanding your knowledge base by performing a 360° review, getting input from all stakeholders. This review can take many forms, but is often modeled after a brainstorming session in a team meeting: that is, you bring people together, present them with a clear objective, brainstorm to elicit ideas, then sort and organize the results.

Finally, don’t just generate a list of “what went well” and “what didn’t go well.” That won’t help anyone apply what you learned. Instead, you should do the following:

Document problems and their impact: What problems do your stakeholders recall? What was the impact on them?

Explore root causes: What’s your best guess as to why a particular problem occurred? What can you do to verify that cause? Why wasn’t the problem anticipated beforehand? (Look for problems in planning, monitoring, and control.)

Capture suggested improvements: How can future teams avoid the problem? If it can’t be entirely eliminated, how can it be detected sooner? What actions would help lessen the impact? Is there a centralized database where you can document your ideas? If not, can you help create one?

WorkOtter helps you successfully execute your program process strategy for project success. Get a demo of WorkOtter and see how we can make your program management effective.

“Project Management: 24 Lessons to Help You Master Any Project” by Gary R. Heerkens is a copyrighted work of McGraw-Hill and McGraw-Hill reserves all rights in and to the Content. ©2007 by The McGraw-Hill Companies. Purchase the book on Amazon.