PMLLblog summary of Lessons Learned Culture

Culture plays a significant part in knowledge management, organisational learning and in the effectiveness of learning mechanisms (Duhon & Elias 2008) and is central to the change management process (Firestone & McElroy 2003; Maqsood 2006). Dvir and Shenhar (2011, p. 20) state that ‘Great projects create a revolutionary project culture. The execution of great projects often requires a different project culture, which can spread to an entire organization.’ Williams (2007, 2008), Hislop (2005) and Maqsood (2006) all suggest that it is critical to understand the culture of an organisation before implementing or using a knowledge lessons learned method as surveys consistently reveal that the main obstacles to success are organisational people (social and culture) factors (Ajmal, Helo & Kekäle 2010; Ajmal, Kekäle & Takala 2009; Ajmal & Koskinen 2008).

Hislop (2005) reports on what motivates employees to share their knowledge and expertise. Firestone and McElroy (2003) state that it is important to understand the following types of culture barriers: topical, historical, behavioural (socialisation), normative, functional, mental, structural and symbolic. Ajmal and Koskinen (2008) define project culture as a harmony between organisational and professional culture. They also identify four core cultures of control, competence, collaboration and cultivation. O’Dell et al. (2000) and Duhon and Elias (2008) discuss the impediments to sharing knowledge; don’t have time; not invented here; divisional stove pipe; geographical scatter; people afraid that sharing will make them less valuable; unwillingness to share; poor leadership and legal constraints.

What are your thoughts on the culture around Lessons Learned?

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