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Event Coverage: A Lessons Learned and Trending System for Projects

30 March 2017  
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Article by Mondli Mbambo, 30th March 2017

PMSA-KZN held its monthly members meeting on the 23rd of March 2017 at Varsity College, Durban North under the topic “A Lessons Learned and Trending System for Projects” delivered by Albert Marquardt from Tennelli. Attended by forty delegates the event was well-received; an insight into the key messages shared is looked at below.
Global Knowledge Management
Albert presented findings from The American Productivity and Quality Centre (APQC) Knowledge Management Survey dated January 2015. Some of the findings are depicted hereunder:

Among organization that have or plan to implement lessons learned systems, policy and process improvements – along with efforts to promote adoption and use – top the list of priorities. Improvements to supporting technology come in a close second.
Challenges of Existing Lessons Learned Systems

There are three (3) challenges of existing lessons learned systems.  

1: Data quality

• lack of data validation, poor data entry,
• unidentified root causes and lessons,
• the lessons are not systemically addressed with appropriate root cause analysis,
• too much data – but no information,
• cannot extract relevant decision-making information quickly;
2: Lessons Learned Systems are stand-alone and isolated

• not linked to a risk management system,
• not integrated with existing business processes and therefore not effective nor sustainable and
• lessons do not inform and improve future projects and procedures
3: Poorly designed databases

• cumbersome and unresponsive Excel spread sheets,
• hard to find applicable lessons,
• non-existent classification of lessons, and
• Project Managers and Engineers do have the time to extract useful information from large databases
Design of the Lessons learned System

There are principles that need to be taken into cognizance when designing a lessons learned system. These principles include: the Golden Thread; The Swiss Cheese Model, Pareto Principle and the Typical Risk Assessment Tool. The presentation also covered the process to be followed when designing the lessons learned system using Microsoft Excel spread sheets. 
To end the presentation, the speaker shared what companies need to do for further actions. The key message here was that lessons learned system should be integrated with risk and business systems. This was well captured with the following figure:

Albert Marquardt

Albert obtained a B. Eng. (Mechanical) and a Hons. B. Eng. (Aeronautical) degree from the University of Stellenbosch.  His professional career started as a research and development engineer at the Bureau for Mechanical Engineering and part-time lecturer at the University of Stellenbosch.  Albert has gained 30 years practical engineering experience from diversified projects across a wide client base, which included the military as well as aerospace, automotive, medical technology and heavy engineering industries. 

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