How to calculate the transmission efficiency of lessons learned
The lesson learning system should be a supply chain for new knowledge. But how do you calculate its effectiveness?
- Capture and documentation of lessons from project experience;
- Update of guidance documents based on new lessons;
- Review of guidance documentation in future projects.
- Any given project documents lessons (46%)
- Any given lesson is used to update guidance documents (32%)
- Any given project makes use of guidance documents (43%)
- Any given project seeks for documented lessons (44%)
- Any given search finds useful lessons (36%)
The effectiveness of transmitting lesson through search is 46% (capture) x 44% (search) x 36% (find) = 7%.
Let’s compare that with an organisation that treats lessons seriously. The diagram and numbers below are not from a survey, but from published statistics in another organisation. This organisation does not require users to search for lessons, but has a well-resourced supply chain to embed lessons into procedures and guidance.
- Any given project documents lessons (100% – lesson capture is mandatory part of every project, and supported by dedicated resources)
- Any given lesson is used to update guidance documents (93% – this figure was tracked on a quarterly basis and the “closure rate” for lessons varied between 88% and 95%)
- Any given project makes use of guidance documents (100% – all activity was directed by operational procedures which were reviewed and use to make the action plans)
Please note that these figures only reflect the documentation of lessons and their transmission to future knowledge workers; they don’t include the loss of knowledge in the documentation process, or the issues of transmission of understanding from writtenprocedires into the human braid – they only look at the effectiveness of the supply chain of written lessons.
This effectiveness can be measured, through surveys or through lesson tracking, and we can see that is can vary between very ineffective (as low as 6%) or extremely effective (as high as 93%). If you are applying lessons learned, then aim for high effectiveness!
Tags: lessons learned