I was recently conducting a knowledge harvesting exercise with a project. The project had been very successful and the senior management were keen to understand why so that it could be replicated in other projects. To give you an idea of how successful they were, they had completed the phase of the project in 18 months whereas a similar project had taken 36 months to complete a the phase. No matter the size or complexity of your project, irrespective of what industry you are in or even if you are in a not for profit organisation, being able to do something in half the time is of interest.
The reason that the project was so successful was that they decided not to do something that had already been done by someone else in the company or even someone else outside the company. It became a mantra, “can we learn from someone who has already done this?”
As a result they had 600 lessons from other parts of the organisation or from outside the organisation. As one of the guys put it, “We had 600 helping hands”. Now some of the lessons were very small, very technical in nature whereas others were very high level, strategic in nature. Each of the lessons was assigned an owner and was tracked until it was used by the project.
So if you want to achieve breakthrough performance, look for those helping hands.