Monday 24 September 2012

Learning lessons, when every project is "different"

Different Sides This is another one to add to the "Common KM Objections", and it came up again a few weeks ago.

"We can't do Knowledge Management, especially lessons learned, as all our projects are different".

They are a technology company, and by saying "every project is different", they mean that "every project has a different client, different product, different technical specifications", and to some extent, this reduces the impact of lessons learned. Certainly lessons add the most value when projects are the most similar.

However, even on those technology projects, the process will be the same. The process of building and understanding the client requirements, choosing and forming the team, selecting and managing sub contractors, balancing the innovation against the risk, communicating within the team, keeping the client requirements always in mind, managing quality, managing cost, managing time, managing expectations, managing risk, and so on.

There is a huge amount of learning to be done about the process of a task.

Then there is the softer side - building and maintaining engagement among the team, harnessing the enthusiasm of the team members, dealing with conflict, aligning personalities, keeping an eye on work preferences, maintaining relationships within the team, with the client, and with external stakeholders and so on. All projects are done by people, and you have to learn how best to manage people.

So even if the task is different, you can still learn about the process and you can still learn about the people management. Remember the Hamburger model (right). Getting from A to B is not all about Task, and even if the project tasks are different, knowledge management can help you learn about optimising the Process and optimising the Feelings as well.

And to be honest, if you have good people, feeling great, managed well, following a good process, then they can build pretty much anything!

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