Learning from Failure and Success in Project Management

05/15/2015 Adrienne N. Hester

Happy young business woman enjoying success at workIn project management, learning from failure and success is essential for the design and execution of a good project. Reflecting on the failure and success of past projects helps you determine what you need to do in the future.

Learning from Success

Success breeds success. Learning from effective past endeavors helps us structure, develop and execute our own project. Often times the plan we are working on doesn't occur in a vacuum. Projects build upon the achievement of other projects. Researching what has worked in your field and solving similar problems is essential for successful project management.

Further, recognizing what made a past project you have managed successfully can help you in future projects. Reflection and research are key in learning from success. Research can take the form of asking other project managers what they have done, finding out information about similar fruitful projects, and understanding the general qualities of projects with good outcomes.

Was it the structure, the management of specific parts of the plan, or participation of employees that made the project a success? What elements would you retain and what would you change in managing a new project? Asking yourself these questions means taking stock of your efforts in order to determine what to do next.

2nd place cartoonLearning from Failure 

Often, when we fail we want to put the experience behind us. We also don't always examine what made an undertaking fail. However, failure can teach us a lot. Not only do we learn what didn't work, we learn what we can do in the future to avoid those mistakes.

Asking individuals who are involved in an ineffective project to reflect on the factors that prevented it from being a success is one way you can learn from failure. Is it the conception of the project or the execution? Is it the lack of confidence in the mission or commitment from others that doomed it to failure? It is important to take stock from others.  

Learning from success and failure can help you in project management. If you want to find out more about project management, contact us.