Lessons Learned or Innovation Inspired?

by Lakecia Carter, PMP

The last time you conducted a lessons learned session, how many new lessons did you learn? A couple of familiar phrases may be “Communication issues are the #1 reason for project failures” or “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. My question is, “So what else is new?” I want to challenge our thinking because we all need a fresh perspective on lessons. How can PMPs use lessons learned as tools for innovation? The last thing we want is another prescribed closing exercise.  One more-of-the-same lessons learned session will be the death of us! For those who are ready for change, there are three mindset shifts we need to make:

  • 1. Reject Stale Solutions

No, we don’t need more meetings and conference calls. Top-down communication is not as effective we think it is. Resist the temptation to do anything for the sake of appearances only. Many get trapped into thinking that some action is better than no action at all. Be intentional and do what really matters.

  • 2. Embrace Chaos

Don’t be afraid of the noise. A degree of ‘organized chaos’ is healthy. Sometimes people need discomfort to move them to the next level. This is the ultimate test of your patience. Let chaos have its way but don’t let it overtake you. Great ideas emerge when your back is against the wall and you need a resolution fast.

  • 3. Take the Leap

Don’t overanalyze the situation. You will never be able to predict every outcome, no matter how detailed the plan or risk assessment. When it’s time to move, go for it. Your willingness to spring forward into unchartered territory will inspire others to follow.

Lessons learned are great tools to assess your project and improve, but the true value lies in making learning moments tools for innovation. In what ways can you inspire innovation through your lessons learned?

If you found these tips from Lakecia Carter, PMP of value and are a PMP looking to earn PMI PDUs, you might be interested in her self-paced, downloadable courses at PDUs2Go.com.


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