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Lessons Learned?

Lessons Learned?

Quality, Consequences and the Construction Industrial Complex (part 315).

To paraphrase an astute observation, “generals prepare to fight the last war, not the coming war”.

This also applies in business and to AEC firms in particular. A property design and construction project is a bit like an episode of Seinfeld, “everyone is in business for themselves and nobody learns anything”.

Knowledge & data management plus knowledge transfer are key to success and in my experience are not well executed by AEC firms. A key input to knowledge management are lessons learned.

I am currently working on a technical committee and the subject of lessons learned has come up. In summary, everyone likes the idea, but no one actually does it. Why? IMHO:

  • It is never specified nor deemed necessary.
  • There is no payment for it.
  • There is no time for it.

I would argue there is value in lessons learned and they can form part of a competitive advantage strategy if they are:

  • Investigated.
  • Codified.
  • Distributed at scale.

What to do?

Having been prompted to think about this recently, my personal plan going forwards is to have an agenda item for my project kick off meetings called “Lessons Learned”. During the meeting each person will be asked to describe a problem encountered and the solution delivered or wished they had implemented. Even if only one issue is identified as relevant to the project and avoided, value is obtained.

Maybe we need to do this at an industry sector level with an open source database where anyone can post a lesson learned anonymously, for all to use i.e. a problem encountered and a solution executed. Who is up for this?

  • PMI
  • RICS
  • ACG?
  • BCxA?
  • CSA?
  • CIBSE?
  • Anyone?

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This Post Has One Comment
  1. Good luck implementing this at scale. In my experience most people in AEC world only learn from their own struggles. As you stated, the most common obstacle in design is lack of time… no time to calculate, no time to coordinate, no time to see through, no time to learn from industry resources. A 10000-article database will not help here.

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