PRINCE2® Principles – Learning from Experience

PRINCE2® Principles – Learning from Experience

Insights | 02 July 2014

As a Project Manager, do you find you retrace the same methodology or subsequent steps to complete a project or programme?

 Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results!”

Albert Einstein

Does that sound familiar? How many times have you hit the same or similar issue during a project only to say, “I’m sure this happened in project x-y-z, now what am I going to do about it?”

In PRINCE2, this is a fundamental thought process that every project needs to be measured against and, essentially, provide a check point for the PMO to act upon accordingly. In PRINCE2, learning from experience isn’t simply a catch-phrase; it’s a mind-set, a way of operating for the whole project team. It enables the project to proactively seek out and act upon change that may reduce waste, risk and increase the performance of the project – without which projects are doomed to repeat the failings of the past!

As a PMO for an organisation, it is the responsibility of everyone involved within the project to seek lessons previously learnt rather than waiting for someone else to provide them.

In PRINCE2, the Project Manager role is to orchestrate the finding, recording and execution of lessons learned in three key stages:

  1. Upon starting a project – similar projects should be reviewed to scrutinize what lessons were learnt and should therefore be applied to the current project. If the current project is a ‘first’ then as a Project Manager research should be conducted from external experience to understand the ‘new ground’
  2. During the project – a system of project status reports and reviews should be conducted throughout each project stage. These checks seek current opportunities/ lessons that should be addressed in order to improve the project’s progression during its lifecycle. This is done by learning, acting on and communicating upon the findings as they happen.
  3. On project closure (Post Implementation Review) – disseminate lessons for future projects to then act upon accordingly. If lessons learnt provide business value, then these should be noted for the benefit of future projects. If a lesson is identified during the cycle of the project but not learnt from then essentially your PMO is failing for the organisation.

Stage three is critical to project success. Future projects will continue to fail if lessons aren’t captured and learnt from.

As a PRINCE2 Practitioner it is your role to follow these three steps.  By undertaking our PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner courses we equip you with an understanding of the PRINCE2 components, process and techniques to ensure these three simple steps are achieved.

PRINCE2® is a registered trade mark of AXELOS Limited.  

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