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Lessons Learned from our Childhood

A project management best practice is to perform “lessons learned.” In the Agile world, it is referred to as retrospectives. Over the years, I have found one of the challenges is to get participation and to get meaningful insights that will help us improve.

I recently participated in a client’s retrospective. Their successful approach stems from a childhood story. Rather than the traditional thought-starters, they put three sheets of flip chart paper on the wall with the labels “Straw”, “Sticks” and “Bricks”…..a la Three Little Pigs.

Bricks represent things they do well, foundations that drive success. Straws were issues or gaps that would keep the house from standing if they continued. Sticks were somewhere in between.

By using different, perhaps even more creative, labels, they have found the contributions from the teams have been far more plentiful and meaningful. I wonder what else we can apply from our early years!

Mandy Dietz

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