Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned

It’s time to get vulnerable.  Below are weaknesses I have identified during my career that I am always aware of (knowing my tendencies) and actively improving upon.

Just Say “No”

Even though I am eager to please, there was a great learning opportunity early on in my career when I was an entry-level analyst.  I have kept this experience with me and has helped me throughout my career.  [read more…]

Keeping A Lessons Learned Document

I can’t stress enough the importance of keeping a Lessons Learned document after every project.  Over the course of my career, I have refined and come up with a good template I use for each project.  [read more…]

Greatest Weaknesses

  • Being hard on myself

    I tend to be very critical of myself, and always need to be aware that feedback I get is a positive thing and will improve my performance and effectiveness as a professional. I have now learned to cherish feedback and openly welcome constructive criticism.
  • Learning when to say "No"

    Eager to please and do a good job, being a high performer, I need to be mindful of not taking on more work without first completing what is already on my plate. I now catch myself by quickly going through what I am already working on, as well as current priorities and then make a careful answer as to whether I am able to take on that extra assignment or not.

 Just Say “No”

THE SITUATION

Early on in my career as an entry-level analyst in the public sector supporting the Fire Department, I was in charge of handling and resolving IT support tickets that landed in my queue.  These tickets needed to be quickly resolved as they were related to fire safety applications and needed to be functioning 24/7.

WHAT HAPPENED

Eager to please my supervisor and my customers, I had the tendency to take on too many support tickets, optimistic I would be able to resolve all of them in a timely manner.  I even took on extra assignments from other fire chiefs to further gain respect and prove my value.

THE RESULT

Unfortunately, this backfired a bit.  Some of the tickets already in my queue did not get resolved in a timely manner.  Because some of the tasks did not get recorded in the ticketing system (I thought I could quickly complete them in a few minutes), management did not have an accurate picture of my workload, leading for further explanation for why certain tickets were not getting resolved in a timely manner.  After discussing with my supervisor and listening to his helpful advice, I understood the importance of recording tickets for better tracking and reporting, so work did not get completed late or undocumented.  Visibility was important.

WHAT I LEARNED

Ever since, I have been mindful of being more mindful of my current workloads, being assertive and realistic with others and not being afraid to say “no” or “not yet” when I knew that my other priorities would not get done if I took on this extra work.  I also learned the importance of continual communication and transparency with workloads and how it is important to make sure all work was recorded in a tracking system to help account for my work output and departmental performance so management could make better informed decisions.  In summary, I learned the following that has helped me in my career:

  • – Set expectations and be realistic (not too optimistic)
  • – Communicate workloads via established systems (or create your own) so accurate reporting can be done.
  • – Keep communication lines always open with your superiors so there are no “hidden surprises.” [return to top…]

 Keeping a Lessons Learned Document

There is one important document I always make sure to create for each project I work on.  Without this document, I could be doomed to make the same mistakes over and over.  It is my Lessons Learned document.  During my projects, I start this document and record observations and any “learning opportunities” and constructive criticism and feedback I receive.  After a project implementation, I send out the document to the rest of the project team and solicit their feedback.  Knowing that we can be busy and things can fall down the task list, I make sure to send friendly reminders and reiterate the importance of this document to help us work better and more effectively on future projects, reducing the unnecessary extra work and stress of re-living a past mistake.  Once I get their feedback, I compile the document and then lead a lessons learned meeting, presenting my findings and recommendations for improvements for future projects.  By implementing previous lessons learned to new projects, I was able to successfully lead and manage a go-live on an important project that had the potential to cost the company millions of dollars in lost revenue if there was any mistake made to the system that caused it to fail when implemented.  [read more about that here in my success stories…]

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