Project Management

Voices on Project Management

by , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Voices on Project Management offers insights, tips, advice and personal stories from project managers in different regions and industries. The goal is to get you thinking, and spark a discussion. So, if you read something that you agree with--or even disagree with--leave a comment.

About this Blog


View Posts By:

Cameron McGaughy
Lynda Bourne
Kevin Korterud
Conrado Morlan
Peter Tarhanidis
Mario Trentim
Jen Skrabak
David Wakeman
Wanda Curlee
Christian Bisson
Ramiro Rodrigues
Soma Bhattacharya
Emily Luijbregts
Sree Rao
Yasmina Khelifi
Marat Oyvetsky
Lenka Pincot
Jorge Martin Valdes Garciatorres
cyndee miller

Past Contributors:

Rex Holmlin
Vivek Prakash
Dan Goldfischer
Linda Agyapong
Jim De Piante
Siti Hajar Abdul Hamid
Bernadine Douglas
Michael Hatfield
Deanna Landers
Kelley Hunsberger
Taralyn Frasqueri-Molina
Alfonso Bucero Torres
Marian Haus
Shobhna Raghupathy
Peter Taylor
Joanna Newman
Saira Karim
Jess Tayel
Lung-Hung Chou
Rebecca Braglio
Roberto Toledo
Geoff Mattie

Recent Posts

3 Agile Disconnects We Need to Address

What to Expect: Anticipating and Adapting to Dynamic Economic Trends

Governance Models: The Secret to Successful Agile Projects

3 Valuable PM Lessons I Learned in 2023

The 4 P’s of Successful Modern PMs


2020, Adult Development, Agile, Agile, Agile, agile, Agile management, Agile management, Agile;Community;Talent management, Artificial Intelligence, Backlog, Basics, Benefits Realization, Best Practices, BIM, Business Analysis, Business Analysis, Business Case, Business Transformation, Calculating Project Value, Canvas, Career Development, Career Development, Categories: Career Help, Change Management, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Communication, Complexity, Conflict, Conflict Management, Consulting, Continuous Learning, Cost, COVID-19, Crises, Crisis Management, critical success factors, Cultural Awareness, Culture, Decision Making, Design Thinking, Digital Transformation, digital transformation, Digitalisation, Disruption, Diversity, Documentation, Earned Value Management, Education, EEWH, Enterprise Risk Management, Escalation management, Estimating, Ethics, execution, Expectations Management, Facilitation, feasibility studies, Future, Future of Project Management, Generational PM, Governance, Government, green building, Growth, Horizontal Development, Human Aspects of PM, Human Resources, Inclusion, Innovation, Intelligent Building, International, Internet of Things (IOT), Internet of Things (IoT), IOT, IT Project Management, IT Strategy, Knowledge, Leadership, lean construction, LEED, Lessons Learned, Lessons learned;Retrospective, Managing for Stakeholders, managing stakeholders as clients, Mentoring, Methodology, Metrics, Micromanagement, Microsoft Project PPM, Motivation, Negotiation, Neuroscience, neuroscience, New Practitioners, Nontraditional Project Management, OKR, Online Learning, opportunity, Organizational Project Management, Pandemic, People, People management, Planing, planning, PM & the Economy, PM History, PM Think About It, PMBOK Guide, PMI, PMI EMEA 2018, PMI EMEA Congress 2017, PMI EMEA Congress 2019, PMI Global Conference 2017, PMI Global Conference 2018, PMI Global Conference 2019, PMI Global Congress 2010 - North America, PMI Global Congress 2011 - EMEA, PMI Global Congress 2011 - North America, PMI Global Congress 2012 - EMEA, PMI Global Congress 2012 - North America, PMI Global Congress 2013 - EMEA, PMI Global Congress 2013 - North America, PMI Global Congress 2014 - EMEA, PMI Global Congress 2014 - North America, PMI GLobal Congress EMEA 2018, PMI PMO Symposium 2012, PMI PMO Symposium 2013, PMI PMO Symposium 2015, PMI PMO Symposium 2016, PMI PMO Symposium 2017, PMI PMO Symposium 2018, PMI Pulse of the Profession, PMO, pmo, PMO Project Management Office, portfolio, Portfolio Management, portfolio management, Portfolios (PPM), presentations, Priorities, Probability, Problem Structuring Methods, Process, Procurement, profess, Program Management, Programs (PMO), project, Project Delivery, Project Dependencies, Project Failure, project failure, Project Leadership, Project Management, project management, project management office, Project Planning, project planning, Project Requirements, Project Success, Ransomware, Reflections on the PM Life, Remote, Remote Work, Requirements Management, Research Conference 2010, Researching the Value of Project Management, Resiliency, Risk, Risk Management, Risk management, risk management, ROI, Roundtable, Salary Survey, Scheduling, Scope, Scrum, search, SelfLeadership, Servant Leadership, Sharing Knowledge, Social Responsibility, Sponsorship, Stakeholder, Stakeholder Management, stakeholder management, Strategy, swot, Talent Management, Talent Management Leadership SelfLeadership Collaboration Communication, Taskforce, Team Building, Teams, Teams in Agile, Teams in Agile, teamwork, Tech, Technical Debt, Technology, TED Talks, The Project Economy, Time, Timeline, Tools, tools, Transformation, transformation, Transition, Trust, Value, Vertical Development, Volunteering, Volunteering #Leadership #SelfLeadership, Volunteering Sharing Knowledge Leadership SelfLeadership Collaboration Trust, VUCA, Women in PM, Women in Project Management


Increasing the Impact of Lessons Learned

By Lenka Pincot

Project management affords a great opportunity for professional and personal learning with the identification of lessons learned as one of its standard practices. Discussing the lessons learned within the team or sharing them with other colleagues outside of the project is all about looking for ways to do things better next time. But what can be done to maximize the use of lessons learned?

There are numerous examples in which the ability to identify opportunities for improvement and put them into practice falls fully within a team’s autonomy. These may be, for instance, suggestions on how to prepare for a kick-off meeting, tips on how to onboard new team members faster or how to better engage project stakeholders. But there are also points that can’t be addressed within the project, because they are in the hands of teams outside of the direct project manager’s influence. The team may be challenged to stay motivated during the lessons learned session while they express doubts that any change will occur.  

I came across the aforementioned frustration when discussing the topic of lessons learned during one of our PMI chapter events. When I recalled my own experience and efforts to maximize the benefits of identifying lessons learned, I realized there are three focus areas:

  1. Adjust the frequency and format

Lessons learned sessions are no longer expected to happen only after the project is delivered. Learning is a continuous process and, as such, should be encouraged by frequent lessons learned gatherings. But it is also important to note that we learn when we need to learn—when it is useful. And when we need something, we take the path of least resistance to get the piece of knowledge we are looking for.

When we say lessons learned repository, we probably imagine an Excel file or database. Is there a way to make the content more visible and instantly accessible? To have it in front of our eyes and updated frequently so we have a rough idea of what information we can find there?

At present, I mostly work with teams using agile project management methods, for which lessons learned sessions are replaced by frequent retrospectives. We look back at a specific short time frame and are expected to agree on what experiments the team will try in order to achieve improvement. Outcomes of retrospectives are written on white boards, then placed either in a physical team space or a digital space (their interactive wiki pages.)

  1. Practice Kaizen principles

Kaizen comes from Japan and is a term that refers to good change, continuous improvement or change for better. Kaizen is based on a reflection of the team’s performance, addresses inefficiencies and is delivered in increments.

When you discuss the lessons learned, empower your team to make a difference by translating the areas of improvement into smaller steps that are within the team’s influence and can be delivered. Encourage them to execute these steps. As they are less complex and more achievable in short time frames, the team can experience benefits sooner and realize that the change is in their hands.

  1. Reach across the organization

Projects do not exist in a vacuum. The way they are delivered is highly influenced by the entire organizational setup. In order to change the determining environment, look for ways to use the power of project learning to influence the organizational environment. In my experience, it only works when you are able to identify the value that the change brings to the other parts of the organization.

In one of my assignments, I had often heard complaints about insufficient testing and training of users of a new information system that was the outcome of IT projects. The lesson learned was that users were not involved soon enough, the training materials did not meet expectations and that it should get more attention next time. We identified a solution that we applied to our project with positive outcomes. How could we prevent this situation from happening with the other projects that were coming down the line? What was needed was to make our approach an organizational standard so that other projects could benefit.

If you don’t have the mandate to make a change, use your influencing skills. Raise awareness of the topic, use success stories collected throughout your project to demonstrate that there is a way to solve the issue, make allies by delivering good work and network to spread the good news. When the decision-makers start to get curious, have your recommendations at the ready.

How do your project teams use lessons learned to grow?

Posted by Lenka Pincot on: June 03, 2020 09:28 AM | Permalink | Comments (24)

"I'm not afraid to die, I just don't want to be there when it happens."

- Woody Allen