The UK Government’s Public Accounts Committee has put together a report called ‘Delivering successful IT-enabled business change,‘ about how government projects are performing. The report concludes that some projects actually turn out pretty well, but those learnings are not carried across to other projects run by other departments.
This won’t come as a surprise to project managers. We know the value of post-implementation reviews, but the process of sharing the information that comes from them with colleagues is not easy, for several reasons:
- projects normally have a degree of uniqueness about them, so it is hard to transfer the lessons learned to other projects
- there is no clear, industry-standard way of managing this transfer of knowledge – databases rely on individuals going to search for the data and face-to-face meetings rely on individuals holding all the company’s lessons learned in their heads
- we rely too often on the project team members present during the post-implementation review to cascade the minutes/outcomes of the meeting to their departments: if teams of project managers can’t transfer lessons learned between themselves there is little hope that other departments will manage the feedback and learn from it for their next involvement in projects.
Is there a simple way of communicating lessons learned in a way that makes that knowledge accessible to everyone at the time that they need it? Now there’s a product that really could improve the success rate of government projects (and everyone else’s projects too).