Publication Details

Sense, A. J. (2001). Intra project learning: are the right questions being asked?. Proceedings of Project Management Creativity: IPMA International Symposium and NORDNET 2001, 31 May-1 June, 2001 (pp. 371-380). The Netherlands: International Project Management Association (IPMA).


This paper will propose and describe, a number of interdependent dimensions that form a 'learning architecture' for intra project learning.

The proposition which underpins this paper, is that members of project teams managing innovation projects within manufacturing operations, do not proactively recognise & 'engage a personal or group 'learning focus" within the management of their project activities. As such, they do not establish systems, processes or mechanisms to actively facilitate and optimise their learning within the project management activity. Consequently, they may also miss the opportunity to incorporate the available learning into the next phase of a project. As a result, downstream impacts of that inaction may generate sub optimal project outcomes.

However, the acknowledgement of, and desire for pursuing a learning agenda is not enough to make it happen. A project team needs to establish a 'learning architecture' that will effectively drive and support that activity.

But what are the underlying 'architectural dimensions' that need to be addressed by the project team within that pursuit? If the dimensions aren't known, then how are the right questions being asked?

Indeed, if that is the case, is most intra-project learning purely accidental or opportunistic? Therefore, how much 'learning' is lost to the project team, if the 'learning architecture', is not adequately addressed by the project team from the start of the project?

The qualitative, longitudinal, case study action research supporting this paper has been performed with a project team undertaking a major Socio-technical redesign project within a major Australian heavy engineering/manufacturing operation and has been conducted over the previous 18 months.