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Homework 3 Ashley V. Twyman

Project Management Fundamentals 9/29/2008 – 11/9/2008 Dr. Joel Light


Homework 3 page 1 In Lesson’s Not Learned by Blaize Reich, the continuous problem of applying lessons from one project to the next was addressed, researched, and solutions were discussed. A survey of 961 project managers discovered that 62 percent have formal lessons learned procedures; only about 12 percent stick to them. Many ways of capturing learned lessons from projects exist, but are seemingly rarely used. A series of interviews were held with 15 experienced IT project managers in North America and New Zealand. The usual problems cited consisted of lack of time, unavailability of key personnel, and a culture of blame. One project manager interviewee stated, “Most projects don’t have enough budget to support any good closure.” While the interview findings were discouraging, many superior practices concerning lessons learned through projects did surface. Two main ideas that may be used concerning the capturing of project lessons learned consisted of the following: project teams should start sharing knowledge at the beginning of each project and, lessons learned should be captured when they occur, not later. The first idea, sharing knowledge from the beginning, encompasses the belief that if resources are pooled from people involved in the project early on in the project process, lessons learned from previous projects may be applied to the current project in enough time to affect the final outcome in a positive manner. The second suggestion, to capture learned lessons when they occur, not later, comes with three additive suggestions on how to make sure this happens efficiently. The three suggestions consist of the following: 1. At the end of each major phase, as hand-over notes for the next group, noting areas of concern, decisions still to be made, ect.


Homework 3 page 2 2. Whenever key decisions are made or changed, to document rationale. 3. Whenever key targets or deliverables change, to identify why this happened, what was decided and whether follow-up work is needed. I chose this article because I found it very interesting that something as important as project follow up, and outcome capturing, isn’t taken that seriously in the real working world of a project manager. I understand that many projects don’t have the financial backing to support after-project completion analysis, but I would think as a project manager, or as a company who is investing so much time and money into a project, you would spend the money for follow up to ensure less risk in future projects that could be related. For example, our text this week discusses cell phone companies. Many times, a company will come out with a new cell phone, and just a few months later, come out with an updated version, i.e. the RAZR and the RAZR2. If a company invests money in the first project for capturing lessons learned, they may discover a shorter turn-over rate for the updated project because troubleshooting has already been mapped out. I was amazed at how little project conclusion and documenting of lessons learned there actually is. As students of project management, good documented closure of projects is emphasized as one of the most important and pro-active (for future projects) activity you can partake in to enhance your project management skills and abilities. People should really practice what they preach, because this article basically says to other project managers that no one else is asking for time and money to allow project evaluation time, so keep on doing it the way it is now. I think an effective project


Homework 3 page 3 manager would, in the initial parts of negotiation and project formulation, include this important time and ask for funding as well. In conclusion, this article was interesting and educational. It teaches an important lesson that follow up and project conclusion should be a necessary part of project management, and that this aspect of the project management process is underplayed and most often, overlooked.


References

Lessons Not Learned, written by Blaize Reich, from projectsatwork.com, retrieved October 16, 2008 from http://www.projectsatwork.com/


Homework 3