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Lessons Learned Database
07 February 2017
Can anyone recommend a Lessons Learned database that really works. Thank you.
1 answer(s)
Managing Director (
Relentless Pursuit Of Perfection Ltd.
Total Posts: 397
Join Date: 10/01/05
Hi Allan,

I'm fairly certain that there are lots of Lessons Learnt Databases out there, and most will lay claim to working well.  And, to be honest, they are probably right.

But a Lessons Learnt Database is a tool, and it will only ever be as good as the intent, commitment and rigour that is applied by those who use it.

In over 25 years of grappling with this, and the last 17 year as the MD of Relentless Pursuit of Pursuit of Perfection Ltd (, who specialise in "the Perfect Job", I can honestly say that I do not believe in Lessons Learnt Databases.  We have a four part model: Awaken - Enable - Perform - Perfect.

What you need is a Knowledge Management culture, that starts with Awakening the entire team (extended team) to the needs and benefits (What's in it For me?). 

They will then embrace any system (tool) that you provide for them .. that's the Enable aspect of our model.

Then you let them use it, as part of your Performance process. And, of course, because you have aroused their passion, they will want to Perfect the methodology.

Databases are places where you store stuff and they are only as good as the quality of the information stored there (which requires people to put in) and the willingness of people to use the recommendations made by their peers (which requires people to take out). That is inherently difficult to do if there is not a 'learning culture' in the organisation.

I am in favour of an Action Tracker, that records not only Lessons (L), but Opportunities (O).  Currently, people tend to think of Lessons as things that went wrong, but of course they should also be on things that went well (Practices Worth Replicating, as Shell called them). Opportunities are neither, they are ideas on how to do things better, that the (extended) team have either seen done elsehere or have in their minds.

This Action Tracker (we call ours LOG, Lessons & Opportunities Gathered) needs to contain a degree of rigour that - frankly - most people in the wells community can't be bothered with.  It needs to track progress; it needs to track value; and it needs to identify where the 'closed out action' will be embedded in the 'Well Planning' or 'Well Delivery Process' steps, to ensure that it can only be done the way that we have agreed is best.  

That takes effort, that takes resource and it is not as exciting as solving the problem when it (re) occurs!.

I could go on, but I won't.  Whenever we are training on 'Lessons & Opportunities' or incorporating this in our DWOPs or i-WOPs (improvement Workshops), I like to look the group in the eye and ask, "If your Drilling Department was an airline, would you fly with us?!".

I hope that helps (in some way) and triggers other members to dive in and contribute!

Best wishes

Posted by

Allan Gibson

Head of Well Design and Completions

MOL Group

Total Posts: 6
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