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Monday, September 09, 2013

Making Project Inquiries effective for knowledge transfer

Every project team would like to learn from their past experience and use that learning to improve the future. Other project teams also would like to learn from the experiences of past projects in order to do a better job.  While each project is unique, there are common characteristics among a set of projects undertaken, with respect to technology, client, end customer etc that can yield useful lessons.

Project teams usually conduct these inquiry meetings at the end of a phase. In this, the relevant metrics for the previous phase are presented and the reasons for successes and setbacks are gathered through brain storming and captured in an document. The templates used for the project inquiries are  usually not appealing as they simply consist of tables and numbers. Usually, the document is put into a repository and  it  is not likely that the lessons learned would be used by other teams. I suggest few practices  that will increase the value from project inquires.

  • Compare actual Productivity metrics with the estimates used for planning and update plans for the next phase of work.
  • Capture the lessons learned  in the form of an engaging stories with pictures, drawings and  have it shared on-line and off-line internally.  Consider the structure for capturing these stories by  assessing the project from project management  phases (Initiation, Planning, Execution and Control, closure) as well project management knowledge areas (Scope Schedule, Cost etc) .
  • Encourage the project team  to also share the findings in appropriate industry forums as these are great opportunities  to learn from outside the organization.