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• Lessons learned process adopted by a program alliance is examined.
• Lessons learned' process was able to fuel the alliance's absorptive capacity.
• Quality and safety performance was significantly improved.
• Experiences presented can be used by project-based organizations to engender learning.
Lessons learned provide the greatest value when they form part of a continuous learning process and should be: documented, communicated, archived, throughout all stages of a project. This can enable a project to maximize its ‘absorptive capacity’ (i.e. its ability to value, assimilate and apply new knowledge). With this in mind, the development and implementation of continuous ‘lessons learned’ process adopted by a program alliance that was able to improve its safety and quality performance is presented. The alliance was able to shift its mindset from single to double loop learning fuelling its absorptive capacity. The paper examines ‘how’ the lessons learned process was implemented and presents examples of learning that were implemented. The alliance's experiences in enabling the acquisition and transfer of knowledge through their ‘lessons learned’ initiative provides a learning opportunity for organizations seeking to ameliorate the performance of the projects that they are charged with delivering.
Journal: International Journal of Project Management - Volume 34, Issue 7, October 2016, Pages 1123–1137