Lessons Learned from failures (A new addition to the lessons learned available to the general public).
Government and business need to successfully manage programs and projects, to learn from success and failure, and to capture, disseminate and apply lessons learned (Duffield & Whitty 2012). Lessons from failures are a special class of Lessons Learned.
The term failure is defined as ‘a lack of success in doing or achieving something, especially in relation to a particular activity (Collins 2001); or ‘omission of occurrence or performance, or a failing to perform a duty or expected action’ (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary 2010).
Often individuals and organisations prefer success over failure due to the rewards brought by success. Even discussions of success are more welcome, and we are motivated by success more than by failures. We keep away from discussing failures because blame is usually accompanied with such a discussion. From the collective point of view, project teams often know they are in trouble, however they take no or minimal effort to resolve errors as owning up to failure may cause shame. So not unexpectedly, we tend to hold close to successful experiences and avoid stories of failure. This favouritism leads to a disparity between success and failure as sources of learning’s. Failures are necessary in the sense that they are essential prerequisites for learning, especially for learning lessons to prevent the mistakes of the past.
As you would know from this blog I keep a list of lessons learned available to the general public. I recently came across a Failure Knowledge Database (FKD) hosted by the Japan Hatamura Institute for the Advancement of Technology (Japan Science and Technology). The work of Dr Yotarou Hatamura makes interesting reading.
Enjoy the lessons
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