Archive for October, 2013

Interdependency: A Lesson Learned

October 10th, 2013

As one of our standard services, Milestone believes in capturing the moment and holding a separate, distinct meeting with the main stakeholders of a project:  The Owner, The Design Team, The General Contractor, Key Vendors (IT, Furniture, Major Equipment) and Key Sub Contractors to review the project process and develop a list of “Lessons Learned”.  In our most recent “post mortem” of a major project, we developed three categories for our topics:  Breakthroughs (issues/ideas the team came up with that were truely unique and created outstanding avenues for team successes), Alignment (processes we developed in the project that aligned our team) and Opportunities (processes that would need tweaking or solutions for our next project).

By developing an atmosphere of “safety” and “constructive criticism”, where topics and issues were discussed in a collaborative session, we avoided the typical pitfalls of Lessons Learned meetings.  Those pitfalls are:  Blame, Humiliation, Fear and Anger.

Instead, we heard common themes that were subconsciously promoted and reinforced throughout the design, construction and occupancy phases of the project….we heard “interdependency” and “transparency”.  Words that I believe, quite frankly, are mis-used and tossed about in a very casual way.  Lets look at these words and the actions that demonstrate their importance on a major capital construction project.


The definition of Interdependency is “..two or more people or things that are dependent on each other.”  In our design and construction meetings, as a matter of habit by our Owner, he would ask a simple question as we closed the meeting “, what is keeping you up at night, and how can I help?”  Now, at first, we just took this as a the Owner being nice and subtly telling us that he appreciates the team working the issues of the day.  However, after a few meetings, he began to hear about some major concerns in design or in construction.  A few of these issues, the Owner took back to his company’s own employed engineering staff, where their team of engineers worked on these issues and brought solutions to the design and construction teams.  Other issues were solved by other members of our Construction and Design Teams that were unrelated to their role on the project.

Example:     The issue of delivering 1200 sets of office furniture without a loading dock that could handle a tractor trailer rig, was solved, not by the furniture vendor (who’s problem it was), but by the architect.

Results:  A true atmosphere and philosophy was created and acted upon to have the entire team hear the concerns of a team member, and then to formulate ideas of how we call could help resolve the issue, and perhaps, in so doing, achieve a Breakthrough!


Scott LaTulipe facilitates Lessons Learned

Scott LaTulipe facilitates Lessons Learned


Next blog…Transparency:  A Lesson Learned