Those of you who follow my blog site know that I have written recently about the fact that Lessons Learned are all about us.  They occur in every discipline and field of endeavor we might pursue.  They arise as the result of actions of the participants and consequences of those actions or what is commonly referred to in project jargon as “outcomes.”

Everyone can participate in gathering, sharing, documenting, and capitalizing on lessons learned, no matter what their individual backgrounds might be or what field they may be interested in.

I am particularly interested these days in “innovative” techniques and methods for capturing lessons learned and the various ways that they are used to improve processes in daily life.

This morning I heard about a new venture that Marlo Thomas is pursuing on Broadway.  You will remember that Marlo Thomas is the daughter of Danny Thomas of early TV fame and a staunch supporter of St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis.  Marlo herself starred in the TV show THAT GIRL with her steady boyfriend Donald.  I am not sure we ever heard what Donald’s last name was.

Marlo Thomas is appearing on Broadway in Relatively Speaking, three one-act plays by Woody Allen, Elaine May, and Ethan Coen that “explore the often outrageous reality of relatives.”  When she discussed the specific details of the performances on TV this morning, one thing particularly interested me.  The playwrights for each play attend a play each week to see firsthand how the performers interact, how the plot unfolds, how the emotion runs, what the audience reaction is to various actions of the actors, etc.  In other words, the playwrights are getting an “in process” look at their own work each week.  They use this insight to change certain aspects of the play for the upcoming stage productions of the plays.

What an innovative approach!!!!   Reminds me a little of our discussion of project managers identifying lessons learned at the end of each major stage of a project which we have discussed several times in this blog.  This method also gives the actors insight into how their performances are being perceived and received by the audience so that they can adjust their actions accordingly.

If you are a project manager looking for ideas about how to improve your project, why don’t you try to “observe” the actions of your actors in their natural setting at least once a week.  How do they interact?  How do they interpret their lines and deliver the outcomes?  How does the entire project “play” out under your direction and initial charge to the group about what was the desired outcome of the project.

I will bet that many of you project managers have never attended a project review for another project in progress.  Try that sometime to see how others are approaching similar situations and how the various project actors are playing out their parts.

You will be very happy when you do this for the insight will rush over you like a wave on the beach.

Let me hear about your successes.  Good luck.

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