Do we learn from risks (part 2) ?

A follow up from an earlier post – Do we learn from risks?. A recent NASA ASK magazine article by Pedro Ribeiro Predictable Surprises: Bridging Risk-Perception Gaps describes how ‘many failed projects provide early warnings that they will run into trouble, but these signs are often ignored. They fly under the organization’s risk  radar, evading even sophisticated risk management processes. Organizations end up not recognizing early signs of failure until nothing can be done other than trying to manage a crisis.’

Pedro highlights that ‘postmortem analyses, inquiries, and audits of failed projects often uncover streams of unheeded warnings in the form of letters, memos, e-mails, and even complete reports about risks that were ignored, past lessons not learned, and actions not taken—a failure of leadership that creates the conditions for a “perfect storm” of problems that could and should have been prevented, but nevertheless catch leaders by surprise.’

The article is a good read if your interested in the good and bad news about project failure, risk-perception gaps and predictable project surprises.

Thanks for reading…

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NASA Knowledge-Based Risk Library

Found another great public available lessons learned site from NASA, this time we have a strong connection with Risk Management…my other passion of interest. Enjoy the search…as we dont want to file them as per the picture.  Regards, Stephen

file ll here

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Do we learn from risks?

I recently posted on a Risk Management LinkedIn group a question “Do we learned from risks?”

Is it possible to ‘integrate’ risk management and knowledge management (ie lessons learned) in a project management environment?
Please share your experiences…

I received a number of good responses that will all help with understanding the KM, RM and PM variables associated with learning from risks.

….extract from the group post 29April2012:
To Justin, Jacquetta, Garth, Rick, Peter, Quinton and ir Peter, very much appreciate you for all sharing and making comments.
@Garth, I like the comments on cultural/systemic risk
@ Rick, I like the anti-mistake solution 🙂

@Quinton, I agree that Knowledge Management (KM) is much more than Lessons Learned which is why I get frustrated in the PM circles of PMBoK and PRINCE2 etc looks like we have a common interest in the role of KM in project Risk Management (RM)…

One thing I am struggling with is that both KM systems and RM systems don’t seem to be well integrated and yet they both play an important role in capturing/managing uncertainty and project success. My experience shoes that KM systems contain a lot of risk related information that one does not find in RM systems.
I am currently researching PM Lessons Learned ( and this alignment with risk management is a key variable of interest for me.
If anyone else has some learning’s to share, please comment or contact/connect with me privately.
Regards, Stephen


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Lessons Learned (Knowledge Management) and Risk Management game set and match.

Over the last 18 months I have seen a powerful connection between Knowledge Management and Risk Management. Risk Management practitioners who use lessons learned as a source of information for risk identification are in a significant position within the organisation to effectively integrate knowledge management and risk management into the project life cycle. Risk Management practitioners are often facilitating risk workshops and share knowledge gained both vertically and horizontally across the organisation. Over the next few months I will continue with this discussion with the linkage to Risk Management.

A couple of papers and blogs have also recently caught my attention and a worth a read:

Neef (2005) ‘In many forward-looking corporations KM procedures, techniques and tools are being used to perform risk management. KRM, the integration of knowledge and risk management, is alive and well and, given the global importance of risk management, may provide KM with a much-needed and revitalizing boost.’

Neef, Dale 2005, ‘Managing corporate risk through better knowledge management’, Learning Organization, The, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 112-24.

Post by Mel Bost  How Does an Active Project Risk Management Plan Facilitate an “Actionable” Project Lessons Learned Framework?

Until next time, enjoy the read…

Regards, Stephen

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