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What We Learnt About Ourselves in 2020 – A Lessons Learnt Technique

Qube In this article we’re not delving too far into what PMO professionals have learnt about themselves in 2020 – it’s more about a session we ran just before Christmas at our virtual party in Qube.

We had chance to do a short retrospective – hopefully that’s something you’ll also be doing too to uncover the many lessons we’ve learnt over the last extraordinary year.

Using a virtual world like Qube allowed us to gather around a whiteboard to use a specific technique to help draw out what we’ve learnt during 2020 about ourselves.

The technique – called LearnBySharing™ – is also one you could use in any lessons learnt session, either inperson or virtually using Zoom, Teams or anything else you’re using to stay connected.


Often it’s the most simpliest tools or techniques that we use that really bring a team together, get them sharing and bring out the insights we’re looking for. Here’s what it looks like: Simple right? Yuo could recreate this in whoteboard form using something like Miro or Trello – allowing everyone access to it to pop in the notes. We gave the PMO Flashmobbers just a few minutes to add their initial thoughts.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Insights from PMO Flashmobbers

No suprises that working from home became one of the biggest lessons we’ve learnt – the ability to have the technology working; not missing the commute; balancing work and home life (especially homeschooling) and how quick it was to adapt.

All good things but it’s not all good all of the time – we struggled to maintain that work/life balance; it felt stressful a lot of the time; we missed interactions in person; it was exhausting and sometimes it just sucked.

It’s good to get people’s thoughts down in terms of surprises and what they’ve personally learnt. Together as a team we collectively chose a favourite – something that resonated with all of us.

How Could I Use it in the Future?

The trickiest part of any retrospective or lesson learnt session is being able to draw out the things that matter and will have a lasting effect and be useable by an individual or project in the future.

It’s this part of the session which more time should be spent because it requires more reflection – it’s about changes needed in the future or how to make changes stick.

Will PMO Flashmobbers do these things in the future, and do we schedule another session in six, twelve months time to see how we’re faring:

  • Work on the hybrid activities that are needed – both inperson, virtual and a mix of the two.
  • Managing work/life balance plus mental health
  • Adopting different approaches and styles to work with colleagues remotely
  • What other resilience based approaches or techniques could we learn about – if we can overcome many barriers during a pandemic, how else can we build or maintain resilience?

With any retrospective or lessons learnt, the outcomes or learnings are a job for the PMO to intrepret , join the dots and see if there are changes required.

That could be a change to a process; or a change in the way meetings are managed – or the times they are set.

It’s about sharing those insights across the delivery organisation, not just keeping those lessons specific to the one project they came from. That’s where the PMO’s unique position in a delivery organisation really comes into its own, you’re seeing lessons from all over the place – from different projects, programmes and in the portfolio.

Retrospective and Lessons Learnt Approaches

So LearnBySharing is just one approach you can add to your lessons learnt or retrospective toolbag. Here’s a couple more for you to take a look at and think about how you could use them in your next session: All of these techniques are part of the Qube environment and are available for teams to use when using Qube. You might also like this session on Lessons Learnt too: Really Learning Lessons - PMO Flashmob Session

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