Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Learning Lessons Learned

#orgintelligence Adapted from my contribution to a Linked-In discussion on "Lessons Learned".

There are several strands of learning from experience, and it may be useful to call these out explicitly.

1. Signals. What signals (that turned out to be important) could we have picked up sooner? What signals (that turned out to be unimportant) did we pay too much attention to?

2. What outcomes were achieved? To what extent did these outcomes match requirements and/or expectations? To what extent did requirements and expectations change during the project? Do we now recognize that some of the original requirements and expectations were inappropriate or unachievable?

3. Sense-making. How do we explain the things that went well and not so well? How much of what happened can be attributed to random variation? Which factors could have been better controlled?

4. Policy-making. What measures could be put in place to improve outcomes in future? How should these measures be communicated and enforced?

5. Learning. How many similar lessons were identified by previous projects and not implemented? How do we explain this? (For example, have voluntary guidelines worked in the past, or is a more formal governance called for?) How shall we check whether future projects learn any of these lessons?

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