Running a traditional lessons-learned meeting isn’t easy, which is why project managers and business analysts choose MeetingSphere as their workshop solution. In short, MeetingSphere overcomes barriers to participation, disclosure, collaboration and learning.
Asked which aspects of MeetingSphere are most important for their lessons learned workshops, facilitators highlight:
making it convenient for participants to turn up
listening to and engaging with a greater number of participants
enabling candid disclosure and open mindedness through anonymity
establishing clear priorities
offering instant documentation in both Word and Excel
facilitating learning and reuse from past meetings
Use of MeetingSphere ranges from in-house project managers and business analysts of Fortune 500 corporations and government agencies to ‘big-four’ consultancies. Free-lance project management professionals and business analysts add global reach to their work with MeetingSphere Pro. MeetingSphere Portable Servers are used where the Internet does not reach or must not reach for security reasons.
MeetingSphere makes it convenient for participants to turn up
With MeetingSphere, groups can do the work online. This removes the need to get all relevant participants in one place at the same time for the workshop. Finding a convenient timeslot for participants is obviously much easier if the meeting does not require travel.
More convenient meetings allow project managers to schedule lessons learned workshops more than just once during a project, which is particularly beneficial:
When events and potential lessons learned are still fresh in everyone’s mind
Before collaborators in a specific project phase have moved on
When lessons learned can still benefit the current project, not just future projects
Listening to and engaging a greater number of participants
MeetingSphere enables project management professionals and business analysts to invite whomever they believe should contribute, even if not in the core project team or if this includes more people than conventional workshops can handle. This is because, MeetingSphere fosters participant engagement in in many ways:
Simultaneous input enables participants to contribute when they have something to ‘say’ instead of having to wait their turn Dominant personalities cannot shut out others by taking the floor or hogging the microphone
Interactivity. In MeetingSphere meetings, contributions by default are immediately visible to everyone. This enables participants to balance statements they don’t agree with by a direct response, by asking a question or by asking for more information. It also allows for detail and comments to be added as well as responses answered where in a conventional setting, the ‘microphone’ would have passed on with relevant comments left unsaid and questions unanswered.
Inclusivity. Being able to write instead of having to speak to a group facilitates the inclusion of those with a more introvert personality as well as those participants who feel at a disadvantage because the meeting language is not their mother tongue. Writing a contribution is far less stressful then having to make one’s case to an audience that may be impatient or unsupportive.
Anonymity enables candid disclosure and open mindedness
With MeetingSphere, facilitators of lessons learned meetings can choose to tag contributions with the name of the contributor, a ‘team’ (demographic) or to leave contributions completely anonymous. Anonymity has fundamental benefits when lessons are to be learned from mistakes:
Candor. Anonymity enables candor by overcoming social barriers to disclosure such as hierarchy (e.g. “I can’t let my boss hear me say that”), fear of ridicule, concerns about offending others, claims on loyalty or favors owed (e.g. “you supported me last time in a discussion, so I need to support you this time even though I don’t actually feel this way”). Brainstorming anonymously things that did not go so well is a powerful way to bring out quickly a comprehensive list of the issues, including issues that are contentious or embarrassing or were glossed over. The ability to speak out candidly is rewarding and motivating, as it allows those that have invested time in lessons-learned meetings to say how things really were and what conclusion can correctly be drawn.
Open mindedness. Anonymity removes personal issues from statements of fact or opinion. This leaves anonymous contributions only to be judged on things like merit, whether they are true and whether they matter. Anonymity virtually eliminates any attempt at finger pointing or embarrassment and enables the group to keep an open mind, which is the best way to discuss and agree on the lessons that can be learned.
With time at a premium both during and after the workshop, facilitators of lessons learned workshops use MeetingSphere’s Rating workspace to:
Prioritize events worth investigating further
Prioritize lessons learned for implementation
Ratings instantly produce a results table and, if wanted, the same results in chart format. The results immediately identify top-scoring items and those items that nobody finds worthy of further attention. Results also show high normalized standard deviation as red flags.
This enables work in the workshop to focus on the positive or negative events from which relevant lessons can be learned. With MeetingSphere’s Discussion workspace, groups can work on many more topics in parallel than can be handled in a conventional workshop. This efficiency of participants working in parallel and contributing where they have something to say, also enables participants to investigate the sources of dissent should disagreement be flagged in the results of a rating. Questions such as “Why can’t we agree on the relevance of these events?” or “How could we reach consensus?” quickly reveal the perspectives and assumptions causing disagreement and often elicit important insights and powerful lessons.
Beyond establishing the lessons learned and their relative importance, project leaders often need to understand how feasible lessons are and their applicability to the wider organization. Using MeetingSphere’s Rating workspace again helps to
concentrate their efforts on lessons that can be implemented successfully with available resource and
identify lessons that should be brought to the attention of the PMO.
All MeetingSphere tools are self-documenting. This means that all input to any MeetingSphere meeting is captured, sits in one place and is easily available for reuse or further processing in another meeting. (learn more)
For follow-up processing, presenting and analyzing in other tools, facilitators can export the data as an Excel file. A full report is available instantly as a Word document.
Reuse and best practice
With MeetingSphere, successful lessons-learned meetings and workshops can be saved as templates saving time in the preparation of future workshops.
PMOs use MeetingSphere workshop templates to drive productivity and spread best practice throughout the organization.