Letter from My Belts

After an extra long day at work, it is easy to come home … take off my tie and belt and shoes … pile them in the corner … and collapse on the couch for a few moments of rest.  For many years, I would leave my things piled in that dining room corner and I would usually pick my belt in the morning while on the way out the door.  

One day, my belts had a different plan.  As I was preparing for an early morning meeting, I raced down stairs, knowing that there were at least two belts in my usual corner (… he-he .. I left them there two nights in a row … ).  Rather than finding my belts, however, I found this ( —-> ) note.  I was surprised at how similar the handwriting was to that of my wife.  Nonetheless, I can’t blame my belts for running away.  They have asked many times to be put away at the end of a long day.  I did not listen.  I did not learn. 

Are you listening to your belts projects?  Are you learning from your belts projects? You should be.

One project management tip is to create a "Lessons Learned" process that results in the identification of issues for improved design, construction or performance on subsequent projects.  In other words, "Lessons Learned" is the formalized approach to gathering information both during and after construction which can be used to assist future project teams based upon the written experiences and recommendations. 

What does "Lessons Learned" look like on a green building project?  Harvard’s Green Building Resource provides an excellent example in a case study on the One Western Avenue project: 

  • One Western Avenue was denied EQc4.3 for not providing carpet cut sheets. From the specifications, it was not clear which product was used. Be sure to include cut sheets for all EQc4 projects."

"Lessons Learned" can also be more detail oriented and created as part of a final submittal process, such as the Final Construction Deliverable prepared by Extrusion Technology, Inc. for a renewable energy project in Massachusetts.  You can even find basic "Lessons Learned" templates on-line.

Writing the lesson learned, however, is only the start.  The real commitment by project team members is to have the resource readily available for the next project and to act upon those recommendations.  I’ve learned my lesson and my belts have not run away ever since.