Lessons learned

16 Nov

As a business owner or senior manager do you get fed up with reinventing, time and time again when starting projects in your organisation? One of the salient reasons for project failures is what is described as “Eternal Beginner Syndrome” (according to Professor Bent Flvybjerg of Oxford University writing in the Project Management Journal on project failures https://bit.ly/2UhrWlK). This means you are constantly reinventing the wheel every time you start a project. One could also describe this as “not learning your lessons”.


Here are 5 simple steps to take before starting your next project, to get over eternal beginner syndrome.


  1. Keep your project teams together. Use the same teams for similar projects if possible. This promotes consistency of work, understanding and trust. Whether you use a waterfall methodology or employ agile project management frameworks it is the same.
  2. Explain to the team that a key project objective will be to compile a genuine project lessons log and report. The project is incomplete without it. This will form the basis for future projects
  3. The project manager, when starting the project, should review similar projects and identify lessons from them. If there is a Lessons Report available, great, if not then a fact-finding meeting with the previous project manager to determine areas to learn from. Alternatively, an external consultant with experience in similar projects could be an invaluable source of the Do’s and Don’ts’s and could prove to be great value for money. These lessons should be used as an input to the planning phase of your next project.
  4. Use the same project management templates employed on previous similar projects.
  5. Insist on lessons being included in every progress meeting and documented in minutes.

It is well documented that learning lessons in projects is an important step to increasing an organisations ability to deliver projects on time and to budget ensuring project success. This will empower your organisation and project management teams to increase their maturity to deliver on your objectives and shed the label of eternal beginner syndrome.

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