I was sent a link to a BBC Radio 4 program which I was told I would find interesting especially as I was about to speak at the PMI (Project Management Institute) Conference in Frankfurt, Germany and turning lessons learned into lessons learnt.
The program was entitled “Iraq Tales: What theArmy Learned” and makes use of material from the US Army oral history archive of the Iraq War including what was going right, what was going wrong and the lessons they were learning for the future. It turns out that the US Army has been sending a military history detachment into every battle since the 1940’s Second World War. What makes the interviews so engaging is that they are unaffected by hindsight. The program is introduced by Rear Admiral Chris Perry who produced the British Army lessons from the same conflict.
The program covers how the US Army Center for Military History ensures that lessons are applied and evolved into military doctrine.
Having listened to the program it is very interesting to hear that ‘lessons’ that had been learned by the army in 1945 were still being relearned in 2000, they knew the lesson but it hadn’t been built into the work flow or day to day procedures. As I speak at the PMI conference, I will be emphasising to the delegates that a lessons hasn’t really been learned until something has been changed based on that experience.