In Level 5, the organization evaluates the information learned during benchmarking and implements the changes necessary to improve the project management process. It is in this level that the company comes to the realization that excellence in project management is a never-ending journey.
There are four characteristics of Level 5, as shown in Figure below.
The organization must create lessons learned files from the debriefing sessions at the end of each project. Case studies on each project, discussing mistakes made and knowledge learned, are critical so that mistakes are not repeated.
The knowledge learned on each project must be transferred to other projects and teams. This can be accomplished through quarterly or semiannual lessons learned forums or from lessons learned case studies discussed in training programs.
The company must recognize that a mentorship program should be put in place to groom future project managers. Knowledge transfer and lessons learned information can be transmitted through the mentorship program as well. The mentorship program is best administered through a Project Office (PO) or a Center of Excellence (COE).
The final characteristic of Level 5 is a corporate-wide understanding that strategic planning for project management is a continuous, ongoing process.
Documenting project results in lessons learned files and the preparation of case studies can be difficult to implement. People learn from both successes and failures. One executive commented that the only true project failures are the ones from which we learned nothing. Another executive commented that project debriefings are a waste of time unless we learn something from them.
Characteristics of Level 5:
Documenting successes is easy. Documenting mistakes is more troublesome because people do not want their names attached to mistakes for fear of retribution.
Company employees still know which individuals worked on which projects, even when the case study is disguised. A strong corporate culture is needed to make documenting mistakes work effectively.