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DOC-511 Lessons Learned

By Tom Purdy, Project PrimeHow can organizations continuously improve the delivery of their technology projects?
One simple yet effective approach is to encourage capturing and applying the "Lessons Learned" from previous projects.
Today's organizations – from small to big – are constantly challenged to adapt, refresh or change their telecommunications and information technology applications and infrastructure over ever-shorter lifecycles. Today's drivers for change are varied, and include cost containment, productivity improvement, mergers and acquisitions, fast-evolving markets and customer preferences, and looming obsolescence of existing infrastructure. For crucial projects, organizations increasingly depend on a suitable project management methodology to marshal the work of cross-functional teams comprised of vendors, users, and other resources and stakeholders.
The "Lessons Learned" approach is an important part of any project management methodology, as it helps executives, project sponsors, managers and teams capture the experience gained in earlier projects in "organizational memory" and apply that experience to improve performance subsequent projects.
The actual process is quite simple, and very effective. As each project is completed, project team members and other stakeholders are canvassed for their perspectives on what went right, what went wrong, and the lessons were learned that should be applied in future projects. The information is then consolidated and made available as part of a project completion report, which can be shared and referred to by teams planning future projects. To encourage the free flow of useful information and improvement ideas, it is very important to cultivate an open, blame-free environment in which teams can candidly offer improvement suggestions without reflecting negatively on individual performance – acknowledging our human shortcomings, but committing to improve!
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As always, good information, presented well.
Thanks for all your articles. They are always informative.