Categorized | Risk Management

Need for Lesson learned log

When it comes down to successfully delivering projects, executives and project managers must be aware that things can go wrong. Where an organization has managed and delivered many projects it has a valuable asset that can be used to aid the successful delivery of future projects – that asset is knowledge. Businesses can learn from previous successes and failures and incorporate learning into the plans and schedules of future projects in order to mitigate failure and maximise the opportunities of a successful project.

Issues and calamities can impact projects in a variety of ways impacting either the schedule or cost. Once these issues have arisen, Project Managers may state “if I’d known then what I know now I would have done things differently” (the same is true for when expected performance is exceeded). This is key – gathering knowledge, retaining it and making it available within the business so it can be used (to assist) future projects can be a significant benefit.

But what does this really mean for the business? For one, better educating the project team to be more aware of potential pit falls can help mitigate the likelihood of failure. In practical terms it means that businesses should mandate the process of completing lessons learnt logs throughout the project lifecycle and that a system is developed that can retain/archive this knowledge for future use.

The businesses should ensure that this information is easily accessible for the project community and that reviews of past lessons learned logs should be incorporated into start up phase of any future project (and incorporated into any phase gate/ mile stone reviews prior to the project reaching point of implementation).

Any learning obtained should be incorporated into the project plan as appropriate. However, a key challenge is determining what may be applicable. The different nature of projects – for example an IT system implementation is very different to building project, may well make this complex. However, project managers should look for themes’ that may be applicable (for example access to funding, resources being unavailable etc) that could well assist the project manager delivering successfully.

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