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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Finding the real value in lessons learned databases

By John Davidson, Facilitators UK

Lessons learned databases can be an indispensable part of the KM toolkit. Well executed, they can add a lot of value. But sometimes this tool isn't used to anything like its full potential. Here John Davidson of Facilitators UK gives eight tips for making the most of your lessons database.

1. Make sure there is a process to acquire lessons learned (peer reviews, after action reviews, quality improvement loops etc).

2. Regularly re-validate the lessons to ensure accuracy, reliability and relevance.

3. Ensure that the database is selected as the storage point for the lesson appropriately, when embedding it in a process, document, training course, checklist etc. may be a better option.

4. Educate people to use the LLD when a problem is encountered that is not answerable via other means – this is not as obvious as it sounds.

5. Put the right culture in place so that there is a facilitative environment for knowledge sharing.

6. Show the value in sharing lessons – record the benefits and impact from learning a lesson;

7. Feed back to contributors – say thanks, tell them what you’ve done.

8. Do something! It’s easy to capture lessons and expect others to read them, digest them and apply them – but it’s only by doing something with them that they will add value.

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