The link between lesson learning maturity and effectiveness.

What is the best type of storage system for lessons learned? Our survey data compares the options.

We conducted a big survey of Knowledge Management this year, following on from a previous survey in 2014. Both surveys contained an optional section on lesson learning, and across both surveys we collected 222 responses related to lesson learning.

One of the lessons learned questions was “Rate the effectiveness of your organisational lessons learned process in delivering performance improvement, from 5 (completely effective) to 0 (completely ineffective)”

Another asked the respondent where their lessons were most commonly stored.

By combining these two questions, we can look at the average effectiveness of lesson learning for each storage option, as shown in the chart above. You can see clearly that organisations where lessons are stored within a custom lesson management system are far more likely to rate their lesson learning as effective than those where lessons are stored as sections within project reports, or not stored at all. Other storage options are linked to intermediate ratings scores.

This links back to a blog post I wrote in 2012 on the maturity of lesson learned systems. 

Here I identified a number of maturity levels, from level 1a through level 3. The supporting technology for storing lessons is only one part of the maturity system, but it struck me today that you can overlay these maturity levels on the chart, as shown below.

  • In levels 1a and 1b, lessons are stored in project reports
  • In level 1c, lessons are stored in a spearate system – a database, a wiki, a spreadsheet
  • In level 1d, individuals can “follow” certain types of lessons, and be notified when new lessons appear
  • In level 2, lessons are stored in a lesson management system which allows them to be routed to experts to embed lessons into practice.

The diagram shows that each progression from one maturity level to the next is associated with an increase in effectiveness of the lesson learning system.

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Shared by: Nick Milton

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