Learn From The Past

The great philosopher Santayana once said that he who fails to study history is destined to repeat it. Unfortunately, because few people learn from the past, history often repeats itself on projects. In fact, many projects are dismal reminders that nothing changes.

Contrary to Henry Ford, who once commented that all history is bunk, learning from the past offers several benefits. It helps organizations avoid costly mistakes that occurred on similar projects in the past. In addition, it helps companies capitalize on previous successes. It also builds confidence and reduces risks for people who have worked on earlier projects.

Learning from the past involves learning both from oneself and from others. Of the two learning levels, learning from oneself is more difficult because it requires introspection. While learning from others can also be difficult, it is less so because there may be documentation or people may be available to provide an oral history or insights.

From personal experiences, team members can visualize the current project in the context of one from the past, identifying similarities and dissimilarities, and determining what worked and what did not work. This requires considerable introspection and objectivity. From the experiences of others, team members can also identify similar projects from the past, and then interview the participants, or read audit reports and "lessons learned," if they exist. Of course, the challenge is to obtain knowledge about the projects and gain access to their information.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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