(PMBOK® Guide) — Fifth Edition draft – Lesson Learned comment accepted

A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) — Fifth Edition draft ‘lesson learned comment accepted with modification’.

The Draft ‘A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) — Fifth Edition’ is currently open for comments. I have made a couple of reccomendations (refer posted on ).

1) General comment for ‘lessons learned’. I am interested in understanding why Project Management methodologies and PM knowledge books seem to only use the term ‘lessons learned’? Perhaps the Project Management community needs to shift the focus to more knowledge management, which will open up the language we use in organisations. Lessons learned is only one particular element that can be used to share and use project knowledge.  …Your feedback would be most welcome.
2) Section: 9.1.1.4 Organizational Process Assets needs to also include ‘Lessons learned from previous projects’

Today feedback was received from PMI.
No. 1 was rejected as ”Recommendation is prescriptive rather than descriptive”…I am ok with this for the present moment. We need to continue working on finding a way to change PMBOK to reflect better Lessons Learned practice. Will leave this for my PhD challenge.

No. 2 was Accepted With Modification…We agree with your basic recommendation. We have modified the sentence and believe that the following re-write addresses your comment: “…Lessons learned on organizational structures that have worked in previous projects; and…”.   Happy with the outcome..one lessons learned improvement.

Until next time…

Regards, Stephen


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PM voices (PMI)…comments on ‘Build a Business Case for Lessons Learned’

A good discussion on PM lessons learned (PM Voices). From my perspective we Project Managers seem to do well in identification and capturing of lessons learned. I would agree that it works better when the lessons identified are part of the weekly PM process. Where we fail to get traction is with the dissemination and application of lessons learned. If you’re interested in some follow on research in this domain, please have a look at my research blog. http://www.pmlessonslearned.info/  I will be presenting some of my findings at PMOz 2012. Regards, Stephen


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A good PM Lessons Learned article by Stephen Jenner (APM Oct 2011)

I recently read ‘Still failing for the same boringly repetitive reasons?‘ by Stephen Jenner in the APM voice of project management (October 2011).  Again it struck a cord with the research work I am doing on PM lessons learned.  I met Stephen during a tour in Australia in 2010., and he shared with me his thoughts on benefits and lessons learned. The Gateway reports have been a valuable source of reading research material. The following quotes from the APM article really say it all with the problem we have in not learning from our lessons.

‘…knowing-doing gap, ..in many areas of management that good practice is known, but is rarely applied’   ‘The solution isn’t acquiring more knowledge – its learning and applying what already exists…’

Stephen goes on to talk about a major cause is ‘the difficulty of identifying lessons to learn’.  My research to date would say that we do okay with identifying, however we don’t do well in disseminating / applying our lessons learned, so this is an interesting point he makes. Stephen does talk about ‘ineffective management practices’ in that 80% of UK government departments don’t use Gateway 5 (Benefits Evaluation) and that there is widespread failure in post-implementation reviews. These stats align closely with the Australian experiences to date. The final cause Stephen talks about is the ‘Individual psychology’, where he describes that we suffer from a number of cognitive biases (the strongest is over-confidence). My research to date very much covers the social and cultural cognitive behaviours, so it is good to confirm with Stephens notes.

In closing Stephen describes a ‘solution for ‘A strategy for learning
Action1. Accept that learning doesn’t happend by accident
Action 2. Expect learning and monitor it
Action 3. Seek disconfirming evidence
Action 4. Robust post-implementation review
Action 5. Don’t wait for the post implementation review’

Always great to read articles aligned with ones research topic.

Cheers, Stephen D

 

 


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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 (http://www.pmlessonslearned.info) 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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A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) — Fifth Edition draft comments

The Draft ‘A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) — Fifth Edition’ is currently open for comments. I have made a couple of reccomendations.

1) General comment for ‘lessons learned’. I am interested in understanding why Project Management methodologies and PM knowledge books seem to only use the term ‘lessons learned’? Perhaps the Project Management community needs to shift the focus to more knowledge management, which will open up the language we use in organisations. Lessons learned is only one particular element that can be used to share and use project knowledge.  …Your feedback would be most welcome.

2) Section: 9.1.1.4 Organizational Process Assets needs to also include ‘Lessons learned from previous projects’

As I read more over the next few weeks, more feedback will be provided.

Regards, Stephen


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The importance of lessons learned in the initiation phase (part 1)

Hi Everyone, I have had a couple of weeks break…about to get back into Lessons Learned. I will be co-facilitating a Queensland PMI event on Wednesday 15th February 2012 on the topic of lessons learned. If you have any key points you think I should cover, I look forward to hearing from you. Regards, Stephen


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PMLLblog summary of Lessons Learned Practices

O’Dell (2011, p. 68) states that the KM solution ‘…is to provide approaches to aid collective memory and capture lessons, experiences, and practices.’ The lessons learned practice is also commonly known as; after action reviews, project milestone reviews, post-mortems, event project debriefs, project close-out and community of practice events (Busby 1999; O’Dell & Hubert 2011; Schindler & Eppler. 2003). The lessons learned practice is called out in various project management guides, standards, methodologies and maturity models. Lindner and Wald (2010) note a gap in project management practice as there is a need for more research in understanding the role knowledge management lessons learned has with project management methodologies.

Reich and Wee (2006) report an extensive review of how knowledge management practices are embedded within the 3rd edition PMBOK Guide (Project Management Institute 2004). Table 1 highlights the changes over the last 14 years of how the term lessons learned has been referenced and used with all versions (up to 4th edition) of the PMBOK Guide. Reich and Wee suggest that the PMBOK Guide is an explicit knowledge document with a focus on creating and using explicit knowledge. The PMBOK guide is process focused on what and how to do it. There is no focus on the why to do a process. Reich and Wee also provide alignment of the PMBOK Guide with the SECI model and note that there is strong emphasis on externalisation and combination elements. Reich and Wee (2006, p. 24) recommend that the PMBOK Guide should be ‘…transformed into a true knowledge guide – both imparting and recognizing the knowledge needed to complete projects successfully.’ The Project Management Institute’s OPM3 Organizational Project Management Maturity Model (Project Management Institute 2008b), references lessons learned however there is less guidance than what is provided in PMBOK Guide (Project Management Institute 2008a).

The Office of Government Commerce PRINCE2 OGC (2009, p. 12) project methodology encourages project teams to ‘…learn from previous experience: lessons are sought, recorded and acted upon throughout the life of the project’. PRINCE2 has a single process for recording lessons learned (lessons learned log) and reporting on them (lessons learned report).

The Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) (Chrissis, Konrad & Shrum 2003) model provides for best practice organisational process improvement. Process improvement proposals and process lessons learned are key work products and sub-processes. Midha (2005) discusses the benefits of CMMI and identifies the classic approach of collecting and translating key lessons into processes. Von Zedtwitz (2002) developed a capability model for post-project reviews based on the standard five-stage capability model.

Milton (2010) and O’Dell and Hubert (2011) both reported the importance of a governance system with visible senior management support and KM leadership. The lessons learned process and activities also need monitoring through the provision of metrics and reporting for the process to be successful (Latha, Suresh & Mahesh 2010; Milton 2010; O’Dell & Hubert 2011).

What are your thoughts on Lessons Learned practices?

Have I missed something?

The next post will focus on Lessons Learned models.

Stephen


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PM Lessons Learned Study

To the PM and KM world, I am currently close to completing (June 2012) my Masters Project Management (research). I have a strong interest in PM Lessons Learned. Over the last 12 months I have enjoyed learning about the KM World.

My final project/thesis will be ‘Exploring factors that impact knowledge management dissemination of project management lessons learned’.

The focus of this study will be to understand why the majority of projects do not disseminate lessons learned to organisations. Knowledge and project management literature suggests that the lessons learned process in practice rarely happens and does not work well and fails to deliver the intended results. The study will address the significant factors that impact the dissemination of project management lessons between the project team and the organisation. The literature review will focus on the areas of: knowledge; knowledge management; knowledge conversion; learning; organisational learning; lessons learned practices; and culture. So far, the literature review suggests there is limited research on how knowledge management, learning and culture impacts project management and project temporary organisations.

A review of the literature highlights project management literature gaps around people, learning, technology and process. The people factor is the most likely to negatively influence the dissemination of lessons learned in organisations. A conceptual lessons learned model has been derived and based on a swiss cheese model where the variables people, learning, technology and process need to align and be effective to disseminate lessons learned.

By undertaking this study it is expected that a better understanding of the significant project technology, learning, process and people factors will be established. This will assist in the dissemination of the Project Management lessons learned practice being improved. The findings will also contribute to the project management literature and provide an opportunity to improve project knowledge sharing ensuring projects achieve success.

I would be interested to know some of your thoughts on the Project Management world around ‘lessons learned’?

Stephen


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