I confess that I have a strong interest in transportation, especially trains. So I am thrilled with the cover photo on this month’s PM Network® magazine, which shows a train in a tunnel from London’s Crossrail, the largest infrastructure project in Europe.
For those working on major infrastructure projects, the thrill is not necessarily the train; it is the systematized effort to produce and share lessons learned from one megaproject team to future teams. The U.K. Parliament insisted the team creating Crossrail capture and curate lessons learned to help future megaproject teams be efficient and navigate complex challenges.
The initiative, called Crossrail Learning Legacy, generated and shared around 650 documents from decades of planning and 10 years of construction. All these lessons, ranging from contractor oversight to limiting environmental impact, are shared on Learning Legacy’s website.
To ensure the lessons’ value, the Learning Legacy team captured feedback from institutes representing areas such as civil engineering and occupational safety and health. Crossrail used that feedback and a review of a similar effort done by the 2012 Summer Olympics team to organize the information into 12 knowledge subject areas.
It was critical that each document explain what happened, what went well and what needed fixing. Finally, the information needed to offer recommendations for future projects.
So what were some key recommendations for future megaproject teams? Set up a governance structure to make sure the team could handle high-stakes contracts with large amounts of taxpayer funds; develop a benchmark to drive and improve contractors’ performance; increase project teams’ environmental awareness; and assess health and safety metrics frequently.
Did your project team ever do a major lessons-learned initiative to share your experiences? Please tell us how that worked in the comments.