How to capture lessons learnt?

How to capture lessons learnt?

The capture of lessons learnt, and associated learning should be a continuous process throughout operation and internal project execution wherever practical. The earlier a lesson is learnt and applied the greater the benefit to the current operations and other projects. This article describes the mandatory processes or actions and provides guidance on other good practices. A guidance will be developed by for future reference.

 Lesson learnt definition

A lesson learnt is defined as something gained through experience or practice that, if shared, will be of benefit to others. The lessons learnt process is designed to not just capture lessons but to action, circulate and reuse them to ensure ongoing improvement of our processes and systems through learnings on projects.

Lessons are typically gathered during the course of operation, maintenance and turnaround as well as a project and will either be information that other groups may find useful, or will be recommendations for improvements to your existing processes and systems based on team experience.

Within the context of a project we define a lesson learnt as either

  • Something that we did differently on this project – or
  • If we were to do the project again what things would we do differently and importantly how

It is essential that both positive and negative lessons are captured but that the outcome is a positive action going forward. The lessons learnt process should primarily be there to reuse good practices developed on projects rather than as a hazard avoidance mechanism. The focus should therefore be on how we can do things differently in the future.

What is not a lesson learnt?

  • Non-Conformance with your existing systems and procedures

If something happened due to mandatory procedures not being followed, then this falls under the Quality Control group and requires a corrective action.

  • Business as usual

Business as usual activities are not lessons learnt. For instance, “the project went well because the Company Standards and Guidelines were used” is not a lesson learnt – this is how business is supposed to be done.

 How to generate lesson learnt, capture and action them?

Progressive Capture

Although not mandatory it is preferable to continuously capture and apply lessons learnt throughout the execution of each project and during normal operation. This can be done through structured workshops or less formally such as through regular project or operative meetings. The lessons learnt should be captured on the Lessons Learnt Register to ensure they are captured in a consistent useable manner. Lessons learnt can be directly uploaded to your internal cloud system for sharing with other groups or sent to your training department for future updates of your internal training system.

Lessons Learnt Workshop

Lessons learnt are captured during a facilitated Lessons Learnt workshop. The workshop format is usually a facilitated brainstorming session using a Prompt List and the Lessons Learnt Register with the following steps:

  • Brainstorm key areas for lessons learnt on the project or operation and note the key lessons (these must be based upon the previous criteria of what should be done differently),
  • Table the lessons that have already been captured during the project in the Lessons Learnt Register,
  • Group the lessons by Business Process and Discipline,
  • Determine what the required actions are to make sure that the lesson is learnt and there is a change in how to behave,
  • Enter the lesson into the lessons learnt register with all the relevant action information,
  • Completed lessons learnt registers can be uploaded in your internal cloud system for sharing with other groups or sent to your training department.

Action Lesson Learnt

The lessons typically are actioned through the Process Improvement process and are closed via Action Close-out procedure using your internal action close-our register (or dedicated software).

How to reuse lesson learnt in operation and future projects?

It is important to incorporate the relevant lessons into your daily operation and new projects.

This will generally involve a formal sharing of lessons learnt from similar projects. One of the best ways to learn is to involve key people from a similar recently completed project or discipline leaders (process, mechanical, instrumentation, etc.). Where possible these people should at least be involved in the initial workshop. They can search the lessons learnt database for relevant lessons that may be relevant to raise at the initial risk workshop and also use relevant subject matter experts or independent engineers who may be able to provide additional information.

Lessons learnt relating to the various disciplines and business processes can be accessed directly from the various learning communities through filtered links to allow easy retrieval of active lessons learnt.

FIORDA database is a repository of relevant lesson learnt in the fertilizer industry and can be access for member companies.

Lesson Learnt support information

A Lesson must have a minimum amount of information for it to be useful for others and to determine who will take ownership of the lesson and its subsequent action. This data is first collected on the Lessons Learnt Register and then transferred to the Lessons Learnt database.

In FIORDA database we include relevant recommendations and technology supplier for each safeguards (where possible) in order to offer a complete information support for operators.

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