Knowledge Management

Risk Mitigation Using Lessons Learned

Given the choice between going into a project blind, or going into a project supported by a whole host of lessons learned, most of us will choose the latter. Karen Munro would choose it too. She writes about the various ways lessons learned can help you mitigate risk and achieve project success.

Won’t be Fooled Again

Performing a lessons learned session after a finished project can elucidate project gaps, problems, culture, and staff maturity levels. Applying these lessons to a new project can occur in several ways. Munro states:

Well if, for example, you become aware of gaps in knowledge/skills etc with teams that you are working with, you have a better chance of mitigating the risks involved in needing to work with that team on your project by being forewarned, aware and prepared.  You can mitigate this risk by ensuring that you have other support available – perhaps other team members, outsourced vendors, contract staff with specialist knowledge, or the knowledge that you are going to need to get the job done.

Applying lessons learned provides an otherwise unattainable level of visibility that lets you get proactive about addressing risk rather than reactive. Of course, the ability to make good use of lessons learned is dependent upon your organization having a good mechanism in place for centralizing and categorizing these lessons in the first place. If this does not yet exist, perhaps you should volunteer to spearhead its creation. It is one of those things that, like a smartphone, you do not realize how extraordinarily convenient it is until you actually have it.

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