The Myth of Lessons Learned
We’ve all been there. We are starting a project, we are working on a project, we are about to finish a project and we know, we just know someone has done something like this before. So what do we do? Well, all good companies have a “Lessons Learned Knowledge Base,” a store of historical information and lessons learned about both the outcomes of previous project decisions and previous project performance. So says the Project Management Institute. But wait, you can’t seem to find yours. People say we did something like that a few years back. So why is it so hard to find out what happened?
It’s so hard because most companies do not have an easy way to find lessons learned if they keep them at all. Do you know where to find them in your company? If so, you are one of the lucky ones. If not, join the crowd. Of course we are all responsible. This is not just a Program Management or Quality responsibility, although they deserve much of the credit or blame. When you finished your last project there were actions and decisions that worked well and others, not so well. Where did you record these actions so others could benefit from your experience? And can others find these results?
In most companies / organizations, small, medium and especially large, Lessons Learned are a Myth. Do something about it. In both the short and long run, using tools and techniques to make decisions that have been proven to work before makes money; making the same mistakes over again doesn’t.