Creating a Learning Organization
Recently we introduced the beginning of a segment we will be writing called Lessons Learned. Through this segment, we hope to gather a clearer understanding of issues or situations that may arise during a project, analyze our processes to address these situations, and learn from these issues so that we are better prepared to not only mitigate them in the future, but more importantly to strive to prevent issues from arising at all.
By sharing this with our readers, they too can address or ultimately avoid similar complications that arise in their own workplaces. However, organizations should implement their own lessons learned systems to better service their clients and improve their overall efficiency.
We discuss implementing a lessons learned system below:
What are the requirements of a lessons learned system?
Before considering using a lessons learned system, it is important to consider whether your company culture actually fosters a learning environment. The system will not work without a work environment that is conducive to learning, and where trust and open communication are valued. It also requires that there be a channel for which this information can be congregated that is easily accessible. This can be on Smartsheets, Dropbox, or something similar.
How does it work?
The lessons learned system consists of two essential activities, capturing important lessons learned and using this information effectively.
Capturing Lessons Learned
In order to capture these important lessons, the company must first define and identify what the specific areas are that will foster improvement for their business. Lessons learned do not necessarily limited to technical knowledge, but can also relate to processes or practices that the company implements. It is important to note that the organization not only notes areas that need improvement, but also the areas that they excel in so that they continue that behavior in the future. These lessons can also be captured throughout the project lifecycle, or through post-project reviews.
Using Lessons Learned Effectively
After these lessons are captured in an easily accessible space, it is necessary to make effective use of these lessons and address them for future reference. Managers need to have a system in place that allows time and budget for reviewing these lessons and constructing methods of addressing these situations should they arise again. If necessary, organizations can even provide incentives for members that record and use lessons learned in future projects. Through an organizational structure that promotes lessons learned, businesses can ultimately regain these costs through more efficient business practices.
We believe it is imperative for a successful organization to have a lessons learned system in place, as it not only brings tangible benefits to the company by way of reduced time and costs, but it also builds trust both within the organization and with clients. Strongly consider fostering a learning environment in your workplace, creating a lessons learned system, and ensuring effective implementation of the system in practice. We are always available for any questions concerning lessons learned or any other construction management issues, so feel free to contact us at any time.