3.8 Following up the report
The evaluation report will often contain recommendations for further actions and these may lead to new project ideas. Recommendations may relate to processes and procedures within the organisation. Project evaluation and debriefing can be a learning experience for the organisation as a whole, as well as for individuals. For example, British Petroleum gathers the lessons learnt from post-project appraisals in a series of booklets that are then used as guidance for writing project proposals. In some circumstances it may be helpful to run seminars to discuss the lessons learnt, and to develop better processes with other potential project managers.
Example 9: Disseminating the lessons from a project
The project manager of a staff development project ran a series of seminars for human resources colleagues, to disseminate the lessons learned from the project. The key lessons identified were:
Give sufficient time to clarifying the project leader's role and accountabilities.
Make sure the resourcing plan is sufficiently detailed.
Replacement costs for staff on training courses should be included in the budget.
Formulating strategy, project planning and implementation are not sequential – plans have to be flexible.
The objectives of the project need to be clear.
Do not assume networks of communication already exist.
Make involvement of key individuals in development activities mandatory – they (we!) must be open to change.
The key people are not just senior managers.
Do not spend too much time piloting – you may lose momentum.
Remember to take into account the tension between operational work and project development work.
Beware: big projects can become a dumping ground for all the organisation's ills!
The workshop considered the conditions from which the lessons had been drawn, and spent time in agreeing how to avoid these and similar pitfalls in future project working.
If you think back to a recently completed project, develop a list of lessons from the project. Write a brief description of the project and then list the key lessons.
You may find that some of your key lessons are similar to those given in the project in the example, but hopefully you were able to identify some key lessons that were specific to the project that you were considering.