Organizational Learning Essay
1. 0 Introduction The title of this journal is Organizational Learning Practices in the Project Management Environment. The author is Timothy G. Kotnour from University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida, USA. This journal focuses on understanding how project managers continuously improve their project quality and performance by building knowledge through learning. Beside that, for the project organization to learn, organizational members must create, share and apply knowledge. The organizations members will create new knowledge for learning experiences.
Learning-by-doing occurs when a problem solver associates plans and actions to accomplish positive results and avoid negative results (Anzai, 1987). While, the plan-duty-study-act (PDSA) cycle, is used to represent the learning process in a project environment. There have two learning cycle in this journal which is Inter-project learning cycle and Intra-project learning cycle. Inter-project learning is the combining and sharing of lessons learned across projects to apply and develop new knowledge.
Tools to support inter-project learning include information technology tools and employee groups aimed at sharing knowledge across the organization provides a detailed example of an online system for recognizing, documenting, validating and making available lessons learned for an organization. While, intra-project learning is the creation and sharing of knowledge within a project. Intra-project learning focuses on tasks within a single project and supports the delivery of a successful project by identifying problems and solving them during the project.
Learning take place when a project team members discuss approaches for completing a task or overcoming problems. The intra-learning occurs throughout routine reporting cycle such as weekly or monthly status and review meetings, project deliverables or major occurrences in the project. 2. 0 Research Methodology & Framework The research methodology involves a lessons learned oriented survey was completely by 43 project managers who were attending a chapter meeting of the Project Management Institute. The survey used to lesson learned terminology because it is more familiar to project managers than organization learning.
The survey contained four question sets. The first set asked project manager their background in project management. The second set focused on how project managers produce lessons learned which is including when, what about, how know, what to produce a lesson learned about and what is included in a lesson learned. While, the third set asked respondent to describe, using five-point Likert scale ( 5 = strongly agree, 4 = agree, 3 = not sure, 2 = disagree, 1 = strongly disagree ), which is the degree to which they practice project management learning practices.
Next the fourth set asked respondent to describe using a five-point Likert scale the degree to which their organization is achieving the learning outcomes. Factor analysis was performed on the third and fourth data sets. There are five general steps to factor analysis which is assessing applicability of the factor analysis process, determining the number of factors through factor extraction, grouping the variables into factors according to factor loading, producing weighted factor scores and lastly each factors reliability was computed using Cronbach’s alpha
3. 0 Framework, Independent Variable (IV) and Dependent Variable (DV) The learning framework offer an implications for a project manager to use in focusing the learning activities of a project team which is first, the opportunity for learning is an inherent part of the project management process. The project management process parallels the learning process. The steps in the process provide the foundation for learning. In a discussion with a project manager, most of the them viewed producing lessons learned as a valuable and important exercises.
However, they felt that they did not have time to complete a formal lesson learned and viewed the learning as a separate activity. This situation showed that, there has a weak relationship between IV and DV. Second, the use of lessons learned can be conducted throughout a project life-cycle, not just at the end of the project. Using the intra-learning cycle, lesson learned can be produced for each cycle in a project to carry on learning to the next cycle and to the next project. And the lastly is the learning process can break down at any stage of the intra- or inter-learning PDSA cycle.
For example, the break down can happened in the learning process if there have not using the project management process and tools in a systematic fashion on the model of intra- and inter-project learning. Other than that, the learning process also can fail in the “plan” step by not reviewing past plans and lessons learned to apply to the current project. In the “do” step, learning can break down as a result of the project team not following the plan or collecting data on the performance and changes to the plans.
While learning also can fail in the “study” step by not analysing project performance with project tools and not competing lesson learned. Finally, in the act “step”, learning process can fail because there have no sharing with or incorporating lessons learned into the next project. 4. 0 Result of the Journal The results of survey analysis in this journal are divided into two areas. First, hypothesis testing is completed and second descriptive analysis is completed on how project managers produce lesson learned.
Table III contains the result of regression analysis for hypothesis testing. [pic] 4. 1 Project Performance As shown in Table III, project management performance is positively associated with project knowledge. Having knowledge about what could be wrong, ways to ensure success and ways to avoid problems supports the organization in delivering better products and services and managing projects better regarding plan a project and meet cost, schedule and performance requirements. 4. 2 Project Management.
As shown in Table III, intra- and inter-project learning practices are directly associated with project knowledge. Producing lesson learned is hypothesized to support the intra- and inter-project learning activities by providing a mechanism to reflect on the project and sharing the knowledge across the project. 4. 3 Learning Practices. Based on Table III, producing a lesson learned is related to inter-project learning. The important factor to increase inter-project learning is not just to produce a lessons learned but to conduct multiple activities for producing lesson learned.
4. 4 Learning Support According on Table III, learning support is needed for each of the learning activities such as inter, intra and lesson learned. Collecting data about the set of steps on a project supports intra-project learning by providing the data and information to compare against the plan and identify mistakes. Being willing to openly and honestly address the mistakes helps drive the learning for intra-project learning and produce lessons learned which can be shared across the organization through inter-project learning. 5.
0 Suggestion/Recommendation There have some recommendation for organizational practices in the project management environment. Project organizations are faced with continuously improving the quality and performance of their products and services to compete in the competitive environment. To learning such an integrated in the project management environments from project experiences to improve knowledge and performance, there must have provide a learning framework which defines the learning processes in a project management environmental.
Beside that, analysing the survey result of practicing project manager’s perception on learning outcomes and practices. Other than that, by integrating and sharing the experiences and learning across project, the organizational will have a greater knowledge. While, project team members must need support for learning to enable them to learn from experiences. Next, for developed organizational practices in the project management environment, the factor analysis and reliability results for the project management learning practices should be provided.
This included how project manager share knowledge from one project to next, how project managers create knowledge during a project and the action project managers take to support the learning process. There also recommend to provides the factor analysis and reliability results for the learning outcomes. There have 2 factors for learning outcome which is the increased knowledge by sharing lessons learned across projects and how to learning process helps the organization improve in managing a project and delivering products and services. 6. 0 Conclusions
As a conclusion, project organization should focus on building knowledge because increased knowledge is associated with increased project performance. To support knowledge building the organization must focus on the learning both and between projects. However, the learning process needs to support by using management tools to plan and monitor results. There also needs to be supported with an environment which allows team members to admit mistakes and openly discuss solutions to problems. All of this needs to be completed to lead to project management success.
7. 0 References Kotnour, T. G. , Orr, C., Spaulding, J. and Guidi, J. (1997), “Determining the benefit of knowledge management activities”, 1997 International Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics, October 12-15, pp. 94-9. Anzai, Y. (1987), “Doing, understanding, and learning in problem solving”, in Klahr, D. , Langley, P. and Neches, R (Eds), Production System Models of Learning and Development, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, pp. 55-98. Argyris, C. and Schon, D. A. (1978), Organizational Learning:
A Theory of Action Perspective,Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA. Abdullah, H. S. Research Method Guide. Gido, C. Effective Project Management, 5th Edition.
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