Do you recreate your successes in projects?

By Alison Smith

In the news this week it has been announced that there will be the recreation of a student prank from 1958. The prank carried out by engineering students was to put an Austin Seven car on top of the Senate roof at Cambridge University.

Many had wondered how they had managed to get a car onto such a high position, and especially how they had not been caught in the act. Now I am not suggesting that you stage such audacious recreations, but instead think of your project successes, and consider how you can recreate successful projects using lessons learned as a guide.

In a previous blog we looked at how despite investing a great deal of time, and money into key projects it can sometimes come down to small decisions, or lessons previously learned to achieve project success. It is all very well to have a register of lessons learned, or a database, but if the information is either too difficult to access, or simply put in a file only to gather dust, there is a real risk of repeating the same errors, or simply wasting time reworking the same ground.

I agree that recreating exactly the same circumstances will not totally mirror the current project dilemma’s that you face, but it is vital to use past experience as a guide to help you overcome issues that arise in your projects. This can save time and money in achieving the right result.

So my question to you is do you use past success to deliver current projects? If so How?

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8 Responses to Do you recreate your successes in projects?

  1. Cesar Abeid says:


    I think it’s a natural thing to remember our successes. I try to deconstruct it to see what were the underlying reasons for the great result and try to duplicate them.

    For example: I have learned that the relationship with the client is extremely easier when they believe you believe in the project and are proud of it as they are. Small gestures that convey that idea helps building relationships which in turn facilitate communication and understanding. Because we are known as the “camera people” in the construction world, I try to take beautiful pictures of the construction site when I’m visiting it. I then make large prints and mail them (snail mail) to the sponsors. The results are great and the relationship is always taken to the next level.

    Thanks for the blog post!

    PM for the Masses Podcast

    • Ron Rosenhead says:

      Cesar, many thanks for this.

      I like the idea of photographs which is of course much easier when you have something concrete to use – sorry for the pun. I had someone on a course (I call it my ten to four story…) who said when I was discussing celebrating success that they were too busy to do this and it’s on with the next one. Thankfully the whole of the group disagreed agreed with her. Why ten to four? It was ten to 4 in the afternoon!

      Sadly, learning, celebrating etc are not done as much as I would like and I believe there are lost opportunities in projects.

      Thanks Cesar

      • Cesar Abeid says:

        Ron, I agree!

        This is the kind of thing I would go out of my way to do though, even outside working hours, or spending my own money. They have such a great impact!

        Thanks again for the blog post. Your blog looks great by the way – good job!

        Cesar Abeid
        PM for the Masses Podcast

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  5. Ian Cribbes says:

    During a course at Henley Business School we were discussing Lessons Learned and their use in follow-up projects. One of the team made the following comment, which I now adopt: “until a lesson has been applied to a follow-up project if remains a ‘lesson observed’. This is so very true in many projects, the team list the things that could have gone better (often ignoring those that went well!!!) but never take those observations into the next project. In other words they ‘observed the lessons’ but never implemented them.

    • Ron Rosenhead says:

      Ian, i like the term “observed” for lessons learned. I have spoken a few times to clients about the need to identify and use lessons learned for projects. I will use the observed word in the future…thanks Ian!

      Ron Rosenhead

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