A learning project organization
Abstract: Background Today many organizations convert from being a traditional functional organization to becoming more temporary project-based organizations in order to respond to the changing environment. As a result, project-based organizations have difficulties to learn from within the project and between projects which force project members to “reinvent the wheel” over and over again. If organizations do not reflect and transfer past experiences from past projects, the quality of project learning and the transfer of learning to the surrounding organization will be poor and, as a result, reduce the quality of the project processes and reduce the value for the customers. Research question At Elekta they gather lessons from their projects. While lessons are collected and filed in a database, Elekta is still in need of support to learn from them and feed them into new projects. How can Elekta learn from past experiences in order to become a learning project organization? Delimitations Elekta requested an implementation plan to be created for their product creation process. The plan explains how the feedback model will be best implemented and within which product creation activities. Thus, an actual implementation of the process was not conducted within this project. Purpose The purpose of this thesis was to develop a feedback model which should help Elekta to learn from past experiences and apply these experiences in future projects. Moreover, the feedback model has to be integrated in Elekta’s product creation process. Thus, an implementation plan was created. creation activities. Thus, an actual implementation of the process was not conducted within this project. Methodology This master thesis project has been conducted using an explorative and descriptive strategy, where the explorative approach has been used in the first part of the thesis in order to develop the theoretical framework. The second part, which consists of empirical field work, was approached using a descriptive strategy where we describe in detail the current state at Elekta and at four other organizations. Our chosen research method is the case study method where the qualitative data was gathered from in-depth interviews and from internal documentation provided by Elekta. Along the way we have used a deductive approach, which means we first stated our research problem and then investigated secondary sources in order to form our theoretical framework. Conclusions With the theoretical framework and the empirical data from the interviews in our backpack, we propose a new lesson design template, a feedback model that takes the new lesson template into consideration, and a plan for the model’s implementation including future actions which should guide Elekta towards becoming more matured as a learning organization. The lesson design template we propose makes it easier for Elekta to gather lessons in such way that they can be applied and transferred to future projects which is an essential element in the lessons learned process. The next proposed element in the conclusion is the feedback model that will utilize lesson knowledge during process execution (e.g. planning, monitoring) to support decision-making. The feedback model uses a pull approach which means the user can search for lessons that are desirable at the time, using a knowledge repository like Elekta´s current lessons learned database. The suggested implementation plan proposes several features on how and when Elekta should review project activities and how the feedback model is best implemented in Elekta´s product creation process. Finally, a list of suggested future actions prioritized by importance shows, in a simple and lucid way, what measures that need to be taken as Elekta prepares for its first steps towards becoming a learning project organization.
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