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Really Learning Lessons

Learning lessons from ProjectsUpdated: March 2019

Ken has now published his book, Learning Lessons from Projects [available to buy from Amazon]

Do we really learn lessons from our projects? It’s an area of project management that brings much eye-rolling yet the basic premise of Lessons Learnt is something that we all agree is – if done well, will really make a difference to the successful project rate as well as improving performance (and morale) of people working on projects.

The subject was covered at a PMO Flashmob hosted by Genesis Notting Hill Housing in London and presented by Ken Burrell. Ken loves this subject – and why not, if you’re an experienced PMO practitioner, passionate about what you’re doing, you too would want to bring some new ideas and thinking about this subject. Ken focuses on the practical and this session is full of great insights and things to try in your organisation.

Included here are the video session, presentation, notes and a small apology from us because the sound cut out about 5 minutes from the end *eye roll*. We cover the last few slides here in the post.

So sign in, read on and make sure you get in touch with Ken and let him know if you use some of the things you learn here, he’d be delighted to hear from you [connect to him]

The Video Session

The Last Bits

Sometimes we get some technical problems and this time the sound cut out with four slides to go. Here’s what those were all about:

Learning Cultures

The PMO can be centre stage when it comes to creating a learning culture within the project organisation. This includes:

  • Community of Practice – creating open and supportive environments
  • Lunch & Learns – where people can come together to learn in small chunks
  • Presentations – sharing these kinds of stories:
    • Problems I’m facing
    • See my scars
    • Successes and Scar Stories Shared
    • Storytelling

Pragmatic PMO

Additional Ideas

Following on from the ideas also raised, Ken made several suggestions:

  • Mentor / Stories / Fireside Chats = Master => Apprentice
  • Social workplace = talk more, build and maintain networks
  • Unfamiliar = parallels, network, analogies
  • Intranet articles = stories, conversation starters
  • Social events = talk more, network, people vs competitors

Ken Burrell

Is it Enough?

Here Ken was talking about are all these steps and thinking enough to promote learning in project management?

The ideas shared, and even just adopting a few of them will certainly mean marginal gains will be made and they could be just enough for the organisation.

But is there a radical change required? The emergence of data analytics in projects and new technologies could mean deeper analysis of lessons. That is going to be a big stepped change for a lot of organisations – good data and lots of it will be needed, not to mention the skills required to manage that and make use of it. It will be a case of more mature project organisations taking the lead here and that could be a few years away now. We watch the space to see how it develops.   Lessons LearntLessons Learnt

The Presentation

Here’s the slide deck from the session [Download it]

Connect with Ken

Here’s Ken’s [Linkedin] and also his [website]

Quick Notes

My notes from the evening – I pulled out some key points and stuff like that [Download it]


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