Thursday, 27 October 2011
We have worked with many organisations that use Microsoft Excel as a lessons database for projects or for operational activity.
There is a lot be be said for this; Excel is a good structured way for capturing data, and for storing and sorting. In fact we offer a free Excel template to act as a lessons log in PRINCE2 projects.
However the lessons learned process is far more than just storing and sorting, and so Excel is by no means adequate for a proper KM and learning process.
Identifying and documenting lessons is only the first step in the lesson-learning process. Each lesson will need one or more associated actions, and those actions need to be notified to the accountable person (often a process owner), and someone needs to be tracking this process. So a sophisticated lesson learning system needs to be supported by a sophisticated technology, that allows workflows to be defined, with automatic notification, and with monitoring and tracking facility. Most companies who take KM and lesson-learning seriously will invest in a lessons learned database to provide the technological underpinning.
I am afraid that if you want to take lesson-learning seriously, Excel just doesn't hack it.