Posts Tagged 'lessons learned'

A Gathering is not Productive

After what I considered a very successful project, the planned Lessons Learned meeting made me sit down and collect my thoughts. What did I want to share? What did I want to pass on to the organization that would make people think, ‘Ah-ha! Excellent idea!’?

That is what I was after. I did not want to dwell much on the negative aspects of the project, as I felt there were really very few. I wanted to remember those ‘genius’ moments where issues were quickly solved, dilemmas were smoothed over and hiccups were ironed out.

I assumed there would be others who felt the same, who wanted to add something to the body of knowledge related to these types of projects within the organization. What a dreamer I was!

Our gathering of minds, for what was supposed to be a project closure and lessons learned, went like this: hand in any artifacts, and now let’s celebrate…and that was about it. Our fearless leader did voice accolades for various people and groups, but the meeting fell well short of my expectations, which consisted of a deep, introspective analysis of the good, bad and ugly.

I was sorely disappointed. I am still mulling the lack of event over.

I realized Lessons Learned meetings may be something that drives me but few others, and I have to respect the personas of the rest of the team. I ended up sending in a revised document on all that I wanted to be archived, but I did not feel the release that I had expected.

The reason I do retrospectives is to ensure everyone has spoken out about their concerns, human resource issues and accolades for any and all parties. I want people to get ‘it’–whatever it is–off their chests. This is a surprisingly good way to release stress. Let your staff talk about the project, the bad first and then the good.

My team is happy, but my sponsor missed that golden opportunity to shine as a leader who has the vision to see the long term benefits.

Image Source

Don’t Miss This Leadership Opportunity

Committing to doing a proper ‘Lessons Learned’ followup for every project is important.

The time for Lessons Learned is as close after the lesson is discovered as possible. In many cases, this review is when any important phase or aspect of the project is completed. Reviewing and updating the Lessons Learned should be ongoing and is especially beneficial at the end of the project to ensure a clear account is maintained while it is fresh in everyone’s mind.


As the leader of this endeavor, you should plan a get together of key stakeholders and your team to review the ‘good, bad, and ugly’ items at every phase of the project – and after completion, too. It doesn’t matter whether the items were successful or dismal failures; allowing everyone to bare their souls and tell it like they saw it can alleviate the burdens heaped on their lives during the crux of the deadlines.

During the meeting, everyone should be able to voice their opinions about any and all topics. Everyone needs to be comfortable with what they are saying, who they are saying it to, and when they are saying it (which is, hopefully, not too late).

Anonymous surveys are one way to ensure everyone has the opportunity. Whether they respond or not is usually directly related to the perceived value or benefit. See if you can make doing the survey worth their while. Offer something tangible as the benefit, something that you would want if you were to do a survey for someone else or another department.

There is obvious benefit to the corporation from these Lessons Learned, but what about the benefit to your participants? What can they take away from this event? How about a clear conscience? How about a feeling of being heard? How about a message that they are important, are being listened to, and even more importantly, that their requests are being acted on.

This is a leadership event. You get to listen to your team as well as the clients, sponsors, and stakeholders. This is a great opportunity for building rapport and firing-up the team. Find out what each individual thought about the project to this point and what suggestions they can make for improvements, as well as ask them whether they witnessed any MVPs, specific accolades, and/or any outstanding efforts.

Another approach to consider is getting praise from the outside world and sharing it with your team. It will be beneficial for you and them.

Do not put a Lessons Learned opportunity off until it is too late! You will be surprised at how much of a relief your team will feel with being given a forum to voice their concerns as well as heap their praise on others.

Image from Microsoft Clip Art

Share


Follow us on Twitter

Featured Courses

Categories

Archives