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Rondvliegende lessons learned beheersbaar laten landen : de aanvliegroute naar een aanpak om leren in en tussen projecten binnen PLUS te bevorderen

Clevers, C. (2016) Rondvliegende lessons learned beheersbaar laten landen : de aanvliegroute naar een aanpak om leren in en tussen projecten binnen PLUS te bevorderen.

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Abstract:As the title says, lessons learned ‘fly’ around within PLUS, the Project management office of Schiphol Airport, where the project control in this field leaves much to be desired. This research takes the first steps towards an approach to improve learning in and between projects within PLUS. Within PLUS, lessons learned from projects are being reported and shared too little or not at all, and therefore not considered in future projects. Valuable knowledge stays with individuals, the wheel is continuously being reinvented and important lessons are not learned. The goal of this research is to develop an approach to better utilize lessons learned and thereby improve learning in and between projects. Therefore the following main question has been prepared: In what way can lessons learned (structurally) be incorporated in future projects within PLUS? In order to give an answer to this main question, the regulative cycle (Strien, 1997) has been followed, starting with the problem definition, through analysis, design, implementation and lastly the evaluation to complete the cycle. In every phase, the focus group, consisting of various project managers within PLUS was involved. The analysis was performed using various sources of information within PLUS: project managers, documentation, databases, and the current meetings. Based on the barriers and success factors for learning within and between projects from existing literature, requirements were drafted to make the right decision for the design of the new approach together with the input from the focus group. Also the implementation has been tested to these requirements. In the evaluation phase the current situation has been compared to the new situation after implementation of the new approach for learning within PLUS. The analysis within PLUS revealed six points which form a barrier when it comes to learning. These are the decentralization of knowledge and learning, evaluation only as output and not as input for new projects, exchange of project managers within and between projects, lack of time, lack of Schiphol specific knowledge and the difference between theoretical knowledge and practical situations. These points correspond with the barriers for learning which emerge from literature. In summary, it is clear from the analysis that lessons learned are not fully utilized or are not shared, which results in losing valuable knowledge. Based on the points that emerged from the analysis, six design options for the approach have been drawn up. These are: the project managers profile, forms of interactive knowledge sharing, an integral planning, a checklist, the wall of lessons learned and the ‘Lessons Share’ app. These were assessed by the focus group on practicality within PLUS and tested against the established requirements based on the barriers and success factors from literature. The choice for the design exists of a combination of two of the six design options, complemented by lessons learned. Namely, personalization through various forms of interactive knowledge exchange, and codified Schiphol specific knowledge in a checklist and the securing of lessons learned in the lessons learned base. Through the combination of these options they reinforce each other to improve learning within PLUS. The implementation within PLUS ensures that learning will occur in a smarter way and lessons learned are incorporated in future projects. This by the simplified approach, embedded in the current work processes and using existing resources. The focus group has imposed conditions that the implementation within PLUS must meet. The approach to improve learning within and between projects theoretically complies with the established requirements. The obligatory moments on which the different parts of the approach 7 need to be executed, are linked to the documents to be submitted at the end of each project phase. For each phase, the checklist consisting of Schiphol specific knowledge needs to be completed in order to ensure that this knowledge is applied in every project. At the end of the realization stage a lessons learned session post project needs to be organized, these lessons learned are secured in the lessons learned base. As a result, the relevant lessons learned can be selected at the beginning of a new project including the associated project managers, in order to organize a lessons learned session pre project to learn from each other between projects. In addition the approach exists of three more forms of interactive knowledge exchange. Firstly, the monthly meeting of the different teams of project managers, in which the project manager shares his or her knowledge and most important lessons learned on an actual project. Secondly, during the transition phase of the new program for strengthening project control, named Baseline, knowledge will be shared on a larger scale in different, yet to be determined forms. And as a third intervision, specific project situations will be explored during these sessions which are held in fixed small groups of project managers with similar experience levels, this creates a cyclic learning process. All parts of the approach together should ensure that the importance of learning within PLUS becomes visible and that time will be created for learning. The approach itself has been evaluated by the focus group and has been assessed positively because of the simple set-up, embedded in the current work processes and the replacement of existing parts. That learning will take place in a smarter way through the use of the approach is also evident from the comparison with the current situation, where the link for learning between projects and the central point for securing lessons learned is still missing. The evaluation shows that through the implementation of the new approach for learning the barriers have been broken and the success factors result in a positive contribution to learning in and between projects within PLUS. An important aspect to learn in a smarter way lies within the motivation of project managers. The required parts of the approach to be executed are based on extrinsic motivation, but the positive effect of the approach should ensure that this changes into intrinsic motivation on the longer term. As the project results visibly improve through the use of the approach for learning, the approach will be used more naturally, which will stimulate the intrinsic motivation. Based on the results from this research it is recommended to appoint those responsible for the various parts of the approach as soon as possible. And include both lessons learned (sessions) and the checklist as required moments in the documents to be submitted at the end of each project stage. In addition, to start up the different sessions for interactive knowledge exchange in order to make the importance of learning visible in practice. Future research should focus on the further development of this approach in practice.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Subject:56 civil engineering
Programme:Civil Engineering and Management MSc (60026)
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