PMSA Lesson Learned

Lessons Learned are a top priority

Project Management SA-KZN held its monthly members meeting in March 2017 at Varsity College, Durban North under the topic “A Lessons Learned and Trending System for Projects” delivered by Albert Marquardt from Tennelli. Attended by forty delegates the event was well-received and provided valuable insights.

Albert presented findings from The American Productivity and Quality Centre (APQC) Knowledge Management Survey. 

Among organization that have or plan to implement lessons learned systems, it was found that policy and process improvements, and efforts to promote adoption and use, top the list of priorities. Improvements to supporting technology come in a close second.

There are three challenges to implementing lessons learned systems:

1. Data quality

  • lack of data validation, poor data entry,
  • unidentified root causes and lessons,
  • the lessons are not systemically addressed with appropriate root cause analysis,
  • too much data – but no information,
  • cannot extract relevant decision-making information quickly.

2. Lessons Learned Systems are stand-alone and isolated

not linked to a risk management system,
not integrated with existing business processes and therefore not effective nor sustainable
lessons do not inform and improve future projects and procedures.

3. Poorly designed databases

  • cumbersome and unresponsive Excel spread sheets,
  • hard to find applicable lessons,
  • non-existent classification of lessons
  • Project Managers and Engineers do not have the time to extract useful information from large databases.

There are principles that need to be taken into cognizance when designing a lessons learned system. These principles include the:

  • Golden Thread;
  • Swiss Cheese Model,
  • Pareto Principle
  • Typical Risk Assessment Tool.

The presentation also covered the process to be followed when designing lessons learned systems using Microsoft Excel spread- sheets.

To end the presentation, the speaker shared what companies need to do for further actions. The key message here was that lessons learned system should be integrated with risk and business systems.

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