Lessons Management System
If lessons are being learned from many projects, for example from retrospects and after action reviews, then these lessons need to be collected within an IT system that stores them , classifies them, and routes them to the person who needs to act on them. This is a Lessons Management System, which goes beyond the traditional idea of the passive "lessons learned database".
Unfortunately many organisations rely on passive lessons learned databases, where lessons are stored in the hope that someone will read them. All too often such repositories become "lesson graveyards", resulting in Lessons lost, not Lessons Learned.
Lessons Management Systems can be set up for a single project, to store, manage, route and track the lessons from within the project, or for the entire organisation, to store, manage, route and track lessons from many projects. An effective lessons management system needs the following features;
- - It should be structured according to the needs of the user. A common mistake is to structure the database according to how the knowledge was supplied - by project, for example, or by business unit. However the users are more likely to want to find all the lessons to do with a specific activity.
- - There should be form-based entry. Typical data entry fields might include text fields for describing the lesson, and a series of additional fields for metadata. The text fields include: " context " description of the event " root cause " lessons identified " suggested action.
- - Each lesson should be associated with an action, and the Lessons Management System should contain a notification workflow to ensure those people who need to be notified of the lesson are notified, generally by email.
- - Lessons search should also be easy, using a combination of tags and free text.
- - The Lessons Management System should be a source of tracking metrics, to track the usage of the learning system, and should be able to generate a suite of metrics to measure how well leassons are being learned.
A Lessons Management System, or its own, will not ensure lessons are learned. It needs to be set within a Knowledge Management Framework of Roles, Processes and Governance, to be effective.
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