14 barriers to lesson learning
Lesson learning, though a simple idea, faces many barriers to its successful deployment. Here are 14 of them.
I posted, back in 2009, a list of 100 ways in which you could wreck organisational lesson-learning. These were taken from my book, The Lessons-Learned Handbook, and represent the many ways in which the lessons supply chain can be broken or corrupted.
Here’s an alternative view.
From the paper “Harvesting Project Knowledge: A Review of Project Learning Methods and Success Factors” by Martin Schindler and Martin J. Eppler, we have a list of 14 barriers to effective lesson learning through project debriefs, drawn from an extensive literature review.
- High time pressure towards the project’s end (completion pressure, new tasks already wait for the dissolving team).
- Insuﬃcient willingness for learning from mistakes of the persons involved.
- Missing communication of the experiences by the involved people due to ‘‘wrong modesty’’ (with positive experiences) or the fear of negative sanctions (in case of mistakes).
- Lacking knowledge of debrieﬁng methods.
- Underestimation of process complexity which a systematic derivation of experiences brings along.
- Lacking enforcement of the procedures in the project manuals.
- Missing integration of experience recording into project processes.
- Team members do not see a (personal) use of coding experience and assume to address knowledge carriers directly as more eﬃcient.
- Diﬃculties in co-ordinating debrieﬁngs.
- Persons cannot be engaged for a systematic project conclusion, since they are already involved in new projects.
In those cases where a lessons learned gathering takes place, the gained knowledge is often not edited for reuse, or not accepted as valuable knowledge by others. If debrieﬁngs are conducted, there is still a certain risk that the results (i.e. the insights compiled by a project team):
- are not well documented and archived,
- are described too generically or are not visualized where necessary, which prevents reuse due to a lack of context (e.g. it is too diﬃcult to understand or not speciﬁc enough for the new purposes),
- are archived in a way so that others have diﬃculties retrieving them,
- are not accepted, although they are well documented and easy to locate (the so-called ‘‘not invented here’’-syndrome).
Tags: lessons learned