Much can be learned from doing a Lessons learned meeting after each project. In my current position it is a practice we do as a routine at the end of the projects. One particular project, where I was new to Instructional design and project management was a lessons learned I will not forget. I was in a new position as an instructional designer, had a new boss to the healthcare system, who left about 1 month into the project, I had a new manager assigned to me who did not show any interest in the project for about three months. I was given a very large project to design and develop learning for a group of learners who were spread across the country. In my mind I had this project running very smoothly. I wrote out a design document and had regular meetings with my design team.
First lesson learned – Write a clear Statement of work. The mistake I made was to focus too much on the design document. While this is an important working document it does not clearly state everything in order to have a successful project. For instance the purpose and objectives were represented strongly in the design document other parts of the SOW were missing. Neither the assumptions nor timelines where addressed in the design document. While I had the “idea” of how this project should flow, I did not have the roadmap to get there. This was a huge mistake on my part. As a result of this undefined SOW, other projects moved their way to take priority of this project.
A positive for this project is I had all the appropriate representatives at the table from the beginning, this allowed for quick identification of the potential problems located within the project. We were able to take a pause and write the project plan and project charter. This is allowing for the project to keep moving and I will be able to deliver a stellar product to the business owner. My lessons learned is to be aware of what the business owner wants and to be open to the potential changes I might have to change mid stream.