Monday 27 July 2009

More preliminary survey results

I blogged yesterday about results from the Lessons Learned survey, showing that more than half of the respondents were less than satisfied with their lessons learned system.

Here are some of the barriers or problem areas identified by those who scored 2 or less out of 5 for the effectiveness of their system. Do any of them ring a bell with you?

• Incoherent information management process, senior management buy-in, no metrics, time!
• Currently no central access point or repository for lessons, no central senior sponsorship, currently culture very much on delivery not learning
• Management involvement; taking ownership for (sharing/learning) processes beyond borders of own field of responsibility. Takes continuous attention.
• Cultural resistance to flagging bad news; difference between talking the talk and having to walk the walk (corporate commitment); sheer size and scope of the organisation
• Besides noting the lessons down the organization does near to nothing with them. Conclusions from lessons range from "continue' to 'don't do this again" which means the lessons and mainly the conclusions are not SMART. No actions however arise from the defined lessons making it a purely 'check in the box' activity with no added value.
• Rapid change of staff / redeployment at the end of projects
• Lack of organisational buy-in, lack of clear path to improvement, too many initiatives
• Restricted audience. Hard to find the reports. Done in an inconsistent way. Can be seen as box ticking. Little top management follow up.
• Transferability of Lesson Learned
• Management buy-in and commitment to doing this
• Sharing of the lessons learned to a wider group within the organization.
• Formalising the process and incorporating in new work
• Taking action on the learning after post-project reviews.
• Sharing the learning more widely, beyond those who participate in review meetings.
• Consistency in following the process.
• The prevailing attitude was "this is how we have always done things and we won't change."
• Lack of commitment from the management, long approving process, lack of immediate actions taken, lack of lessons that actually brought some visible improvement, lack of understanding how Lessons Learned can benefit company and individuals, lack of incentives for doing so, the process is not very well defined and people found it hard to follow, people are confused how to find the right lesson, etc
• Functional management enforcing continuity of process and, therefore, lessons learned from project to project.
• Although LL are collected there is no real evidence of anybody looking at them before starting other project work. Communication. Poor search facility.
• Lack of appreciation of the value; management does not set the expectation; tendency to 'check the box' approach.
• Has not become part of the culture and the way we want to do business
• Not a good platform for sharing.
• Willingness to conduct process
• Improve the LL should leverage further for cross project sharing, improved template and common forum to discuss these (not just adding to repository)
• No recognised process, limited follow up, limited prevention (living in present rather than planning for future), always something else more important,
• Governance behaviour and resourcing and people moving on
• Time constraints
• Being able to demonstrate re-use
• Finding time, and availability of consultants with the tacit knowledge, to undertake lessons learned exercises and to capture same explicitly.
• leaders/sponsors need to create the climate so that LL can be learned and applied
• Concerns about litigation
• Timing is an issue - we don't immediately record them, and I believe that some are lost completely, or details are lost
• Lack of performance management and follow through
• Improve the closure of projects and easy access to lessons learned (both people and documents)
• Not seen as central to performance management
• Poor dissemination and use of lessons learned. Often just a tick the box exercise. Where something valuable is found, this is rarely transmitted to others who need to know or embedded in the network.

I will share the final results from the study in a few weeks, when I close the survey. For the moment, its still open, and if you havent contributed please Click Here to take the survey, either on behalf of your own company, or a company you know well as a client or former employer.

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