Black Box Thinking: Marginal Gains and the Secrets of High Performance (Book Review)

Overview

  • This very popular book looks at the relationships between success, failure, and improvement.

  • Drawing from approaches used by aviation and sport, it suggests ways to improve how we think about our experience to learn how to do things better.
  • Unusually for a book review on this blog, this book is not aimed at project management professionals particularly, but falls more into the category of “general self help”. I reviewed it because so many of my project management professional friends told me that I should read it (including the PMO Flashmob Book Club night)!

Continue reading “Black Box Thinking: Marginal Gains and the Secrets of High Performance (Book Review)”

What makes a “Good” lesson learned?

How to write a good lesson learned

Following on from a couple of talks I have given recently on why organisations don’t learn as much as they could from running projects, I was asked how to write a “good” Lesson Learned. Continue reading “What makes a “Good” lesson learned?”

Lessons Learned: Specific or Universal?

lessons-learnt

At a recent PMO FlashMob event, I got chatting with a few FlashMobbers about what can be done with the Lessons identified in project closure reports. There were split opinions in the group:

  • Some thought that Lessons are usually specific to the Project concerned, and are only useful in later stages of the same project, or in running future projects that are very similar to the one from which the Lessons were learned;
  • Others (including me) thought that it is possible to extract more generic learning from at least some Lessons that can be implemented across many projects (even those that are different from the project that identified the Lesson), perhaps by adding or making a small change to a checklist, template, approach, BAU process or corporate PM methodology, or by including the Lesson in PM training or coaching.

I have written before about Lessons Learned and my ideas on how to use them, but I thought it might be fun to try an experiment, with which I would be grateful for your help. Continue reading “Lessons Learned: Specific or Universal?”

Processes are an organisation’s memory

Further to my post on Lessons Learned from project delivery, I’m going to take a calculated risk by standing up for the pragmatic application of process. Yes, that’s right, process.

Processes are an organisations memory

Now, people seem to enjoy a bit of process-bashing, and I get that: nobody wants to have their working lives organised for them to the point where they become a soul-less, heartless, brainless robot, but I am proposing the idea that processes are an organisation’s memory. Continue reading “Processes are an organisation’s memory”

How to make sure that Lessons Learned stay that way

I often wonder just how much project management organisations really learn from project successes and mistakes. I think we could all definitely learn better than we currently do.

How to make sure lessons learned stay that way Continue reading “How to make sure that Lessons Learned stay that way”