I had an interesting conversation a few weeks ago about the logic behind managing a project. As an experienced PM, I am no longer been naive to the fact that everything that is supposed to happen is going to happen in a project no matter how logical it is. I have had meeting minutes with team members stating the tasks that they were going to complete, sent out the minutes, posted their tasks to the project planned with them assigned, I’ve had them tell me they were working on those tasks that they read back to me and yet when it was time to deliver their exact words were, “I didn’t know that I had to do that!”. I’m sure that many of you reading this article can attest to these kind of team members.
The fact is, what is considered logical or common sense in project management is not always so. To avoid the drowning roadblocks that can come up in a project, you must look at and document your lessons learned. The importance of lessons learned is to take note of common risks that may happen within a project if it’s with team members, the tool, the testing, communication, and so on. As a project manager, it must be a well-document part of your job. You should even self-critique and allow your team to critique you after a project is completed.
On the flip side, a project manager should review any lessons learned documents prior to starting their project. Read lessons learned from projects with the same applications, team members, and even stakeholder. This will help you to gauge risk within your timeline. If you are going to work with a team member that you never dealt with before, you may want to look into their contributions, how well they performed, etc. In previous projects. This lets you understand not only the risk involved with working with that person but it should also give you insight on how to effectively manage that person.
Many people skip out of completing the lessons learned part of their project, but this is a key part of project management and risk management that is undervalued. Don’t rely on what is logical…you’ll never win that battle. When it comes to logic vs. Lessons learned, lessons learned wins almost every single time. The next time you close a project, don’t forget your lessons learned document.