Floor Tape Store

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Lean Tips Edition #177 (Tips #2866 - 2880)

For my Facebook fans you already know about this great feature. But for those of you that are not connected to A Lean Journey on Facebook or Twitter I post daily a feature I call Lean Tips.  It is meant to be advice, things I learned from experience, and some knowledge tidbits about Lean to help you along your journey.  Another great reason to like A Lean Journey on Facebook.

Here is the next addition of tips from the Facebook page:

Lean Tip #2866 – Give More Praise Than Criticism. 

Giving honest feedback in performance reviews and team meetings is important, but it’s important to be mindful of the motivating potential of meaningful compliments and praise mixed with constructive feedback. Singling out team members who’ve gone above and beyond can be a powerful motivating force for boosting employee engagement.

Lean Tip #2867 – Check in Even When Nothing is Wrong.

Make time for one-on-one meetings on a regular basis. This gives your direct reports an opportunity to bring up questions or challenges before they balloon into major problems. They also give you a less formal opportunity to communicate with your employees and gauge their level of motivation.

Lean Tip #2868 – Get in the Trenches.

While it’s important for you to stay focused on the big picture, you also can’t lose sight of what the day-to-day work of your team entails. Being involved in managing individual projects on a personal level as they unfold in real-time can help keep you connected to the work your team is doing. Ask questions about the hard work your team members are doing, and stay up-to-date on trends in your field or business.

Lean Tip #2869 – Think About Lasting Solutions.

No matter how difficult the problem, there is always a quick solution, and leaders are happiest when they are devising solutions to problems. The trouble is that, in our zeal to fix things quickly and move on to the next fire, we often overlook the lasting solution that may take longer to develop. Although it's more fun to be a firefighter, the next time you have a problem to solve in your organization, deal with the cause of the problem instead of simply treating the symptoms.

Lean Tip #2870 – Be Open, Honest and Transparent

Good communication and trust are key ingredients for a happy high performance team. If you want your team to feel comfortable, to be honest and have trust in you, then you need to do the same with them. People can always sense when someone is not being genuine with them. Being honest and open also means admitting your own mistakes and acknowledging when you don’t have the answers. Don’t try to be a know-it-all. 

Lean Tip #2871 – Be a Mentor and a Coach (Not a Drill Sergeant)

View yourself as a coach and a mentor who is there to help develop your team and team members’ potential, not as a drill sergeant there to crack the whip and keep employees in check. Most employees want a job where they can grow, be respected, challenged with great work and where they can build great relationships and friendships. View yourself as a coach who is there to motivate the team when they need it and mend their wounds to get ready to fight another day.

Lean Tip #2872 – Put Yourself in Their Shoes & Provide Support

Every great leader was once a follower. Never forget where you came from and put yourself in your team members’ shoes to consider things from their perspectives. Ask yourself: what would have been helpful for me if I was in that situation? What type of support/coaching would have benefited me?

Lean Tip #2873 – Give Them Challenges & Help Them Build a Development Plan/Career Roadmap

To build a high performance team, you need to challenge your employees to do their best work while also allowing them to reach their personal career objectives. A happy employee is one who sees the value of their work and who feels productive and needed. As a manager and a coach, you should help each team member reach their full potential by helping them create a yearly development plan of one or two key career goals they would like to meet. Then during the year, be on the lookout for these opportunities and give them to the employees who are actively working on acquiring these skills.

Lean Tip #2874 – Never Stop Learning

In order to be a great manager, you should recognize there is always room for you to learn and improve. Cultivate a positive personal growth mindset and create your own yearly development plan with individual career goals.

Lean Tip #2875 – Encourage Ideas That Challenge Your Own

Despite the fact that you are their manager, your team members likely understand their job far better than you do. It is virtually impossible for you to come up with all the ideas, especially when it comes to process improvements. Solicit, encourage, and adopt any ideas that are good--regardless of where they come from.

Your team performance can only be as solid as the ideas that you allow your team members to share. If you stifle your employees' creativity, you will eventually stifle your own as well.

Lean Tip #2876 – Achieve Better Work-Life Balance, Establish Clear Boundaries

Establishing boundaries at work is an effective way to create work-life balance because it ensures you have time and space available for meaningful aspects of your personal life. Possible boundaries include not taking work home, not checking work email on weekends and leaving work on time each day, even if you are in the middle of a task. While there are likely to be occasional exceptions or last-minute emergencies, do your best to stick to these boundaries. Discussing your desired boundaries with your manager to gain their support can help you feel comfortable implementing these practices.

Lean Tip #2877 – Achieve Better Work-Life Balance, Make Your Time Count

Effective work-life balance requires that you spend your time meaningfully in each of the respective spaces. By ensuring you spend your time outside of work pursuing hobbies or doing activities that align with your values, you can recharge your energy levels and feel more fulfilled. This also helps you be more present at work, knowing that you have ample opportunities for a full life outside of work as well. Similarly, if you engage in challenging, meaningful projects at work, you will be more likely to experience work as fulfilling, and thus, find that both work and your personal life are valuable.

Lean Tip #2878 – Achieve Better Work-Life Balance, Leave Work at Work

Develop a mental on-off switch between work and home. It helps to establish a transitional activity between the two realms. This might consist of listening to music or recorded books during your evening commute, exercising at the fitness center, running errands, or keeping personal appointments. Scheduling such activities immediately following your normal work hours also prevents you from spending that extra twenty minutes at the office which then turns into several hours.

Lean Tip #2879 – Achieve Better Work-Life Balance, Work Smarter Not Harder

Using time more efficiently is an important skill that everyone from the receptionist to the CEO can learn. Adopting the right combination of time-management practices can cut stress and save you up to an hour a day. This can include the use of technology to become more organized, grouping emails and voice messages, avoiding procrastination and learning to say "no."

Lean Tip #2880 – Achieve Better Work-Life Balance, Focus on Results, Not Time Spent

Rather than thinking about working harder, focus your time and energy on achieving bigger results. By simplifying your areas of focus, you free up more time to live a more joyful and balanced life.

It’s really easy to fall into the trap of doing countless activities that drain your energy and take you away from building momentum in moving your business forward. You are being pulled in multiple directions and don’t have enough time and often take on too many projects. This can often leave you drained, worried and uncommunicative at the end of the day.

Remember, getting more things done means nothing when nothing great is done.

By focusing on a smaller number of projects and delivering maximum impact, you have a bigger sense of achievement, confidence and motivation. Plus, you may have more time to stop work early and spend time with the people that matter.

Subscribe to my feed Subscribe via Email LinkedIn Group Facebook Page @TimALeanJourney YouTube Channel

Monday, September 20, 2021

The Eight Guiding Principles of Supply Chain Improvement

To balance customers' demands with the need for profitable growth, many companies have moved aggressively to improve supply chain management. To avoid a very real tug of war between the customer's demand and the company's need for improvement supply chain managers are starting to recognize two important things. First, they think about the supply chain as a whole—all the links involved in managing the flow of products, services, and information from their suppliers' suppliers to their customers' customers (that is, channel customers, such as distributors and retailers). Second, they pursue tangible outcomes—focused on revenue growth, asset utilization, and cost reduction.

Many supply chains are lengthy and dynamic and it’s impossible for managers to evaluate every action taken with detailed analysis. At Toyota they believe that reducing the lead time is the right thing to do. Managers there don’t spend time doing analysis every time they try to reduce lead time to prove that this is the correct thing to do. Instead they live by the guiding principle, confirmed over several decades, that reducing lead time eliminates waste, improves quality, and reduces costs.

Robert Martichenko and Kevin von Grabe, supply chain experts from LeanCor, have defined Eight Guiding Principles in their book Building A Lean Fulfillment Stream.  These principles have proven essential in improving supply chains for years:

1. Eliminate all the waste in the fulfillment stream so that only value remains.
Creating flow in a fulfillment stream requires all departments and functions in an organization to work in harmony. Focusing on the fundamental lean principle of eliminating waste so that only value remains helps achieve this harmony.

2. Make customer consumption visible to all members of the fulfillment stream.
If customer consumption is visible across the entire fulfillment stream, then it is much easier for every participant to plan work based on the pull of customer demand.

3. Reduce lead time.
Reducing inbound and outbound logistics lead times will get orders to the customer faster. When a company can reduce lead times to the point where it can exceed leadtime expectations of the customer, it will no longer need to rely on forecasts and can “pull” material throughout the fulfillment stream. End-to-end fulfillment-stream lead times are reduced when overall inventory in the system is reduced.

4. Create level flow.
The ultimate goal is to have goods and information move in a predictable, consistent, and uninterrupted manner based on the actual demand of the customer. This is known as level flow. Level flow reduces variation in processes and tries to spread activities equally over working time. This minimizes the peaks and valleys in movement that create unevenness and overburden, which result in waste.

5. Use pull systems.
Use pull systems when level flow is not possible. A pull system is an inventoryreplenishment method (i.e., kanban) in which each downstream activity (customer consumption) signals its need to the next upstream activity. Pull systems reduce wasteful complexity in planning and overproduction that can occur with computerbased software programs such as material resource planning (MRP), and they permit visual control of the flow of materials in the fulfillment stream.

6. Increase velocity and reduce variation.
Velocity is the speed with which information and material move through the fulfillment stream. Meeting customer demand by delivering smaller shipments more frequently increases velocity. This helps to reduce inventories and lead times, which allows you to more easily adjust delivery to meet actual customer consumption.

7. Collaborate and use process discipline.
The collaboration of all participants in a fulfillment stream is necessary to identify problems in the stream, determine root causes, and develop appropriate countermeasures. To be truly effective, this collaboration must be combined with standard improvement processes and regular PDCA.

8. Focus on total cost of fulfillment.
Make decisions that will meet customer expectations at the lowest possible total cost —no matter where they occur in the fulfillment stream. This means eliminating decisions that benefit one part of the stream at the expense of others. This is the real challenge of building a lean fulfillment stream, but it can be achieved when all members share in the operational and financial benefits when waste is eliminated.

The Lean journey generally begins inside the four walls of the manufacturing facility, however eventually it extends to the supply base and customers. The eight guiding principles for turning your supply chain and logistics network into a smooth-flowing “fulfillment stream” delivers more value to customers while reducing the total cost of fulfillment. Implemented successfully, these principles prove convincingly that you can please customers and enjoy profitable growth from doing so.

Subscribe to my feed Subscribe via Email LinkedIn Group Facebook Page @TimALeanJourney YouTube Channel SlideShare

Friday, September 17, 2021

Lean Quote: Management is Nothing More than Motivating Other People

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"Management is nothing more than motivating other people.  —  Le Iacocca

Employee morale doesn’t simply translate into how happy your people are; it’s a direct reflection of how healthy your company culture is, how well you and other leaders are communicating with teams, and how effective your managers are.

High morale only occurs when employees feel taken care of by their company. And because this year has been filled with stressful distractions, ensuring your people are getting the support they need to bring their best selves to work each day is more important than ever.

Here are seven ways you can contribute to a thriving culture and continually boost employee morale all year long.

1. Be transparent.

Tell your employees what’s happening within your company. Give them updates and make them feel involved in your company’s success. People want to understand the vision and direction of the company and feel like they’re making meaningful contributions to the growth and goals of the business.

2. Encourage continual learning.

Create opportunities for employees to keep learning. A LinkedIn survey found that 94% of employees would be less likely to leave a company that gave them professional development opportunities.

3. Recognize and reward achievements.

Technology is a great tool to help you run your business, especially when it comes to understanding how your employees are performing. One of the features of smart terminals is that you can easily track and monitor customer feedback and employee performance. For example, if you have employees who are constantly receiving positive customer reviews or exceeding sales performance expectations, you’ll be able to see this in the smart terminal apps. This will make it easier for you to recognize employee achievements.

4. Listen to feedback (and implement it!).

You already know how important it is to collect and respond to customer feedback, but it’s important to listen to feedback from your internal team too.

5. Encourage team bonding.

Although the phrase “team bonding” might induce a few eye-rolls, it’s actually a great way to boost employee morale. Investing in building these relationships helps your employees feel more connected to each other and the company, develops trust between teams, and increases their commitment to your business.

6. Celebrate differences.

Make sure that your company has a culture that celebrates and respects people’s differences and continuously learns from them. It can take a toll on an employee’s morale if they don’t feel respected or included, meaning you’ll be less likely to retain them.

7. Give employees independence.

No one likes to be micro-managed. Giving your employees independence shows that you trust them to do a good job even when you’re not there. It makes them feel empowered and respected, giving them positive feelings about their roles and the company.



Subscribe to my feed Subscribe via Email LinkedIn Group Facebook Page @TimALeanJourney YouTube Channel SlideShare

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

8 Essential Skills Every Project Manager Needs

While the complexity of project management is daunting, it also offers many benefits to your business. By delegating responsibility and goals to a team, you can ensure long-term success with higher quality results at a reduced cost.

When faced with an overwhelming task like launching a new product or improving processes in every department for increased efficiency, all that needs to be done is to overwhelm most managers. To perform the project manager duties successfully, you must enhance your skills and work more efficiently.

Project management skills are essential to project managers because they have so many roles that need to be taken care of. For example, they must know how to manage budgets, project schedules, and project risks for a project to succeed. In addition, project managers also need the skills necessary for leadership, such as conflict resolution, decision-making, and communication. In this blog post, we will go over eight essential skills every project manager needs.

Essential Skills for a Project Manager

Every project manager needs to have several skills to be successful and achieve the project goals. The project manager's responsibilities may vary from task management, time-management, budgeting or risk assessment. Your interest and skills will answer the question why choose a project management career.

Some of the essential skills for a project manager include:

  1. Effective Leadership skills
  2. Communication skills
  3. Organization skills
  4. Negotiation skills
  5. Adaptability skills
  6. Risk Management
  7. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
  8. Patience 
  1. Effective Leadership skills

Project management is all about how you motivate your team and see the project to completion. You're leading a group of people, which means making sure they stay on track so that you can achieve success. Project leadership comes in different styles, and one might work better for you than another, depending on the personality.

As a team leader, you must bring in excellent results from all the team members involved in a project. Thus, project management is about more than just the allocation and organization of quantifiable resources.

Project Management is also about building relationships with people. Project managers understand how to get the best out of their team members to achieve that big goal: to see a project through completion.

  1. Communication skills

A project manager must be able to communicate efficiently for their operation and team members to succeed. Of course, listening will help them understand what needs improvement, but conveying instructions is the most critical role of all, with success or failure.

Clear communication is one of the most critical aspects of leadership. It helps to lead a team effectively because it allows you to articulate what needs to be done and how your project can succeed. Clear communication also ensures that stakeholders, vendors, contractors, etc., are all on board with where the work will go.

  1. Organization skills

Being a competent project manager can be a challenge when you handle multiple facets of a project. Organization and delegation skills are essential to ensure the delivery of an accurate, timely product or service.

While managing a project, it is essential to keep organized and on top of every task. An excellent way for managers to do this would be by creating documents outlining all the jobs they have been assigned. It will help them stay in control and prevent last-minute mishaps that might arise from not being prepared. As a project manager, if you cannot manage your schedule effectively, it reflects poorly on the team.

  1. Negotiation skills

Negotiation is not just about haggling, and bargaining with vendors to get a better price or managing deadlines. It can also be about conflict resolution between two parties that are equally vital to the success of your project. Negotiation skill is comprehended with your mastery of communication.

The art of negotiation is an invaluable skill for project managers to possess because it allows them to negotiate the terms with clients, stakeholders and other allies, which could save their company a lot of money. Although this requires practical experience before one can be effective at negotiating tactics, it would benefit any new or aspiring project manager if they could familiarize themselves with what has proven successful in past negotiations. Managers can carry out already mapped out strategies without having to waste time experimenting.

  1. Adaptability skills

People in managerial positions determine how well their departments will adapt to such challenges. Even if situations get chaotic and out of hand, they must tackle them with a calm and optimistic approach to not let the organization fall apart.

Changes in industry standards are common, and they can result from many adaptations. For example, it could be the emergence of new technologies, strengthening market trends, or changing user demands.

The ability to adjust and change course during a project is one of the most essential skills of project leaders. Instead of starting from scratch when problems arise or changes need to be made, decide what is best for that situation, not hurting other parts of the plan.

  1. Risk Management

There are risks inherent in any task, plan, or project. It is your job as a professional to identify them before they become problems. You must have the skill to identify, assess, and control risk.

Risk management is about being flexible and accommodating quickly to any shift in circumstances. You can put countless warnings and plans in place, but you will always suspect unforeseen factors. In addition, it means that as the primary person responsible for ensuring everything runs smoothly. It may be necessary for the project managers to readjust their thinking while monitoring team members, progress reports, and other input sources.

  1. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

Critical Thinking is simply analyzing and evaluating an issue or situation so that you can form an unbiased judgement. It prevents acting on rage, emotions or a received answer. Project managers must be able to use critical thinking skills to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of a situation and plan strategies accordingly.

It also required them to know how their analytical abilities can forecast the results of any strategy they come up with. Both convergent and divergent thinking is required when developing strategies.

  1. Patience

A project manager is somebody with the ability to reorganize tasks as needed, stay on top of deadlines without getting stressed out, and keep a cool head even when they're presented with a lot of work. Patience is a virtue, along with which humor goes alongside. It helps project managers ease tensions and create a tone and culture in the workplace.

To Sum Up

Project managers are responsible for overseeing and coordinating the activities of a project from start to finish. Therefore, they need polished skills to ensure that critical deadlines are met without sacrificing quality or accuracy. Furthermore, managing multiple projects at once can be challenging, so having good multitasking abilities is also essential. Through online courses, you can utilize The Tips for PMP Exams to pass the test successfully and pursue a career in project management.

Author Bio: Viswanathan G is a Professional IT trainer with extensive experience in training and project management. By academics, he is a Mechanical Engineer and also developed his skills in programming. His 25 years of teaching experience have brought in thousands of students across the world. He is an expert in designing training courses with technical content and real-time examples. He is now working as a trainer in Edoxi Training Institute.


Subscribe to my feed Subscribe via Email LinkedIn Group Facebook Page @TimALeanJourney YouTube Channel SlideShare

Monday, September 13, 2021

5 Ways for Fostering Innovation in Your Workplace

In business, it’s critical to adapt to and create change to stay ahead of the competition. When you foster a culture of innovation in the workplace, the payoff can be greater business achievement.

It can’t just be the members of your leadership team who are tasked with coming up with ideas to do things better or faster. It requires a commitment and input from all levels of the company.

Cultivating a workforce of innovators may be your business’s best growth strategy ever.

Here are five things to keep in mind for fostering employee innovation.

Set the example. Let your staff see you challenging current methods and assumptions. This gives team members the freedom to express their seemingly crazy ideas, too.

Encourage ownership. Challenge your team to take ownership of problems presented. Identifying and taking ownership of problems empowers you to innovate your way around them.

Find hidden gems. Look beyond the top ranks for creative direction. Let ideas flow from all levels of your organization. 

Embrace failure. Innovation involves experimenting, and in experimenting, there is no guarantee of success on the first try. Fear of failure hinders the creative process. Help your team cultivate a positive attitude about failure so they see it as an opportunity for learning.

Act on great ideas. Your team members may not see the point in creating or presenting ideas if most suggestions are never acted upon. They will be inspired if it’s clear they can create a legacy in the organization through their creative ideas.

It’s up to you, the leader, to create an environment where the creative potential of your team members is unleashed. This is not only great for your company, but for the self-reliance and performance of your employees as well. Everyone wins when you allow your team to bring all their great ideas to the table.

Subscribe to my feed Subscribe via Email LinkedIn Group Facebook Page @TimALeanJourney YouTube Channel SlideShare

Friday, September 10, 2021

Lean Quote: Work Place Stress and Anxiety

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time.  —  Leonard Bernstein

Workplace anxiety broadly refers to work-related stress that causes anxiety, or the impact of having a diagnosed anxiety disorder at work.

Regardless of the source, addressing anxiety at work can lead to more positive outcomes for both employees and employers.

Similar to general anxiety, symptoms of workplace anxiety can include the following:

  • Excessive worrying
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Dry mouth
  • Feeling jittery
  • Difficulty focusing 

Employees struggling with workplace anxiety may also exhibit the following behaviors:

  • Decreased performance and productivity
  • Increased number of sick days or time away from work
  • Appearing disengaged or struggling to meet goals

Anxiety at work can be vastly different from one person to the next. However, long work hours, high-stress situations, or feeling a lack of support from managers and coworkers can heighten anxious feelings. Giving presentations, tight deadlines, or being tasked with a big project are other anxiety-producing situations.


If you are feeling anxious or stressed at work, try the following tips:

  • Organize your physical workspace. If you’re dealing with a cluttered desk, unfiled documents, and more open internet browsers than you can count, it’s time to take a break and get organized. Cleaning up your physical work environment can do wonders for clearing an overwhelmed mind.
  • Be honest and ask for help. If you do not have the time or bandwidth to take on that huge new project without sacrificing your mental health, speak up and be honest about what you can handle. Letting your peers or manager know that you need help early on is better than missing a deadline later. Having regular 1:1 meetings with your manager can also ensure that your workload is being discussed regularly, helping to increase transparency and avoid surprises.
  • Recognize small wins. Sometimes we are so focused on moving from one task to the next, we forget to celebrate our accomplishments. Before diving into your next project, take a minute to reflect on the items you’ve completed so far.
  • Plan ahead. Big projects with multiple components and deadlines can be overwhelming. Divide larger tasks into smaller, more manageable steps and tackle them one at a time.
  • Avoid negativity. Listening to others complain can make you feel even worse so steer clear of negative conversations and focus on the control you have to complete your own work.
  • Take breaks. Time for yourself is vital. Get outside, exercise, call a friend, read, or utilize your vacation days if you need more time to reset. 
  • Lend a hand. If you are not personally struggling but notice that your colleague is showing signs of anxiety, check in with them, offer to help and/or bring the issue to their manager’s attention. Caring for each other is a team effort.  

While this list is not exhaustive, hopefully applying a few of these tips to your daily routine will provide some relief.

Subscribe to my feed Subscribe via Email LinkedIn Group Facebook Page @TimALeanJourney YouTube Channel SlideShare

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

5 Steps to Facilitating a Great Lessons Learned Session

Real learning comes from a period of reflection. Lessons learned are an informal conversation where you look at a project in retrospect. It is done after project completion, usually conducted as a meeting involving the project manager and key representatives within the project. During the lessons learned meeting everyone shares their perspective on what they thought about the project, what they would have changed, what they learned and what could have been done better.

Lessons learned workshops are performed for three reasons: The first is to learn from mistakes and to avoid these mistakes in future projects. The second is to gather best practices — that is smart ways of doing something — and to pass on this knowledge to other project leaders. The third reason is for trust building with your stakeholders and team members. Involving people in the process and giving them the opportunity to share their perspective will make them more supportive towards project management as well as future projects.

The lessons learned process involves 5 steps with activities that will capture and use lessons learned. The five steps are:

Plan ahead. You could just sit down at a round table with all the key stakeholders and go around the room. The problem with that is what should take 1-2 hours could go on all day.  Decide in advance on when and where you will hold the lessons learned meeting with your schedule. Write and distribute a simple one-page agenda for the lessons learned meeting in advance. This agenda will include items such as ground rules, idea starting questions and lessons learned to follow up. It will help them come to this sometimes awkward session more prepared and more understanding of the overall focus of the meeting… making the meeting and information to be shared more helpful, focused and productive.

Get feedback. Prior to meeting with the project time, set aside 15 minutes to identify lessons learned for yourself. This activity will prime you on how to reflect on your performance and give you examples to share in the meeting. Elicit feedback in advance. If you can collect and send out the combined notes before the meeting, participants can analyze the input, identify common patterns and focus team time on the nuances and specifics.

Set the Ground Rules. To start the meeting, take a few minutes to explain the meeting’s ground rules. The purpose of defining lessons learned to improve performance in the future. Second, encourage participants to use facts to illustrate their comments so that everyone can understand the point. Finally, explain that you will seek their assistance in implementing these ideas into the organization. It also makes the meeting much more efficient because you won’t be wasting valuable time brainstorming from scratch.

Conduct. Let’s face it. Lessons learned sessions can be unappealing if they’re viewed as overcomplicated and time consuming. The essential lessons learned collection process really boils down to three questions:

What went well?

What didn’t go so well?

How can we do more of what worked and less of what didn’t work?

Anything more than that and you’ll likely find them so cumbersome that everyone will want to abandon the exercise.

Take great notes or have someone on the team take great notes – it has to be someone who went through the project and experienced the ups and downs so they understand the discussion and any comments being made. There will be lots of head nodding – or head shaking.

Follow up. Integrate the lessons learned into your organization. Always follow up any important meeting or discussion with the notes from the meeting and send those out to all attendees and proposed attendees who weren’t in attendance. The key is always to make sure everyone has a say and that everyone is on the same page at the end of the day. Ask for feedback with 24 hours, revise the notes, and send back out one final time.

Review those lessons the next time you launch the same phase in a subsequent project. Before you even get into the specifics of a new project or project phase, remind yourself of the positives and pitfalls from prior efforts. Commit to maximizing the productive aspects of previous projects and minimizing repeat mistakes.

Lessons learned is all about understanding what you all did “right” and what you all could have done “better.” It’s not about finger pointing. It’s about learning. To become better. As a project manager and as a team but also as an organization. This learning effect only materializes when action is taken in response to the lessons learned.

If you follow these five steps, I can’t guarantee that you’ll execute perfectly on every critical success factor. I am confident, however, that you’ll start to notice a gradual change over time that, in sum, will lead to new efficiencies and a culture of continuous improvement.

Subscribe to my feed Subscribe via Email LinkedIn Group Facebook Page @TimALeanJourney YouTube Channel SlideShare