Project Management

Personal Lessons Learned

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at [email protected]. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

I love the opportunity to conduct a lessons learned exercise. No, not those team and stakeholder things that involve sending surveys out and discussing the results over a pizza lunch before filing a report that no one will ever look at. I hate those just as much as the rest of you, but I do really enjoy my own personal lessons learned, and that’s what I want to talk about in this article.

As people who work in a project environment, whether as managers or in any other capacity, we are fortunate to have our work broken up in natural chunks—the projects that we work on. For operational roles, there is an artificial breaking up of work into quarters or years. But depending on the role, business cycle, etc., that may not be a convenient interval to assess performance and look at ways to improve. On the other hand, projects have a fairly consistent cycle. While the timelines will vary, they form natural packages for the work we do—and natural opportunities for us to review our performance in doing that work.

It is important that we take those opportunities to personally assess how we performed on the project and identify opportunities for personal improvement on the next initiative. Project managers are frequently the focus of some of the feedback from the more traditional lessons learned process (and I’m assuming many of you reading this are PMs, so …

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One man can be a crucial ingredient on a team, but one man cannot make a team.

- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar