Everyone agrees that the lessons learned process should be a core part of any mature or maturing PPM approach. Saving your projects from repeating the problems of the past seems like it should be both simple and improve delivery. However it usually proves difficult to achieve in practice. Most projects manage some sort of lesson recording, perhaps patchy but basically okay. But of course that isn’t the tricky bit. Project managers rarely seem to pay enough attention to the lessons previously logged. Getting them to do that is the hard part of the process. Until you have your projects learning from lessons previously identified you don’t have viable process.
Until then you are just going through the motions, adding work for no gain.
Learning from lessons made easy
So here is a great little trick that will help you lock learning from lessons into your following projects. We have seen a few customers using this to good effect.
Simply pre-populate your risk register with sample risks that the project might come across in delivery. Of course the knack is to write up the prior lessons into possible risks. Each new project can then review these. They can ignore the irrelevant ones and score the relevant ones. Having these seed risks also makes the project team think more widely. Teams using a blank risk register often only note simple risks. Whereas a pre-populated register can spark off many other risk identifications as it broadens the perspective.
Now you can be learning from lessons we have identified
So the idea is a good one, it really does work, but we don’t stop there. We have already gone ahead and done all the hard work for you. Ours is a Planner template risk register pre-populated with 47 generic lessons. We have set them all up tagged as Lessons and categorised to make them easy for you to use. All you have to do is download the Risk Register with lessons.spn file from here. Then open it in Planner and you are away. Of course if you haven’t got Planner yet you can sign up for it for free from here and use it forever.
Following this idea and then developing the template to match your projects, including your specific lessons will see developing your maturity. Learning from lessons of other organisations and improving your processes which can only be good. If you want to find out more about maturity and how PIAB can help in other ways this Quick Maturity wins article will be of interest.