Here's an interesting document - an audit of lesson-learning at NASA conducted this year.
NASA spends 750,000 annually on their lessons learning approach, centred around a tool called LLIS (lessons Learned Information System).
Is this money well spent? Not according to the levels of use and application found by the auditors
"We found that NASA program and project managers rarely consult or contribute to LLIS even though they are directed to by NASA requirements and guidance. In fact, input to LLIS by most Centers has been minimal for several years. Specifically, other than the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), no NASA Center consistently contributed information to LLIS for the 6-year period from 2005 through 2010. For example, the Glenn Research Center and the Johnson Space Center contributed an average of one lesson per year compared to the nearly 12 per year contributed by JPL ..... Taken together, the lack of consistent input and usage has led to the marginalization of LLIS as a useful tool for project managers"So why is this? The project managers that were surveyed offered a variety of reasons for not using or contributing to LLIS, including
- A belief that LLIS is outdated, and is not user friendly
- A belief that LLIS does not contain information relevant to their project
- Competing demands on their time in managing their respective projects.
- Policy Requirements have been weakened over time.
- Inconsistent Policy direction and implementation.
- Lack of Monitoring.
Interesting that three out of these six reasons are directly related to governance. One wonders that, even if a spanking new LLIS were introduced, whether (without better governance) anyone would bother to use it.
Here are the recommendations from the audit
- develop and implement a comprehensive strategy for institutional knowledge management that includes collection and dissemination of lessons learned.
- determine if LLIS is worth the cost of continued operation, support, and sustainment.
- revise the Lessons Learned policy to establish program and project management requirements that align with NASA’s strategic vision for institutional knowledge management and sharing.
- revise the policy to align Center and program/project management practices and improve the collection and dissemination of lessons learned Agency-wide by establishing requirements that can be supported by available resources.
All very sensible, and hopefully this will put lesson-learning back on a much firmer footing.