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Appreciating Lessons Learned
July/August 2010 (vol. 27 no. 4)
pp. 72-79
Anders Baaz, Ericsson AB, Gothenburg
Lena Holmberg, Apprino, Gothenburg
Agneta Nilsson, IT University, Gothenburg
Helena Olsson, IT University, Gothenburg
Anna Sandberg, Ericsson AB, Gothenburg
Although lessons-learned activities aid software process improvement, few IT industry organizations regularly and adequately conduct them. Recent studies explain why, identifying 19 barriers for conducting lessons learned. The Postmortem Evaluation theory proposes that organizations almost only focus on what went wrong. 4ALL, a new lessons-learned method based on the appreciative inquiry approach, aims to facilitate learning. It was developed and evaluated in close collaboration with Ericsson. Through attentive moderating and careful timing, the 4ALL method emphasizes the importance of balancing excellences and challenges. It radically increases the identification of excellences and how to learn from what went right, enhancing participants' pride, and significantly increasing the appreciation of lessons-learned workshops at Ericsson.

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Index Terms:
lessons learned, postmortem evaluation, software process improvement, appreciative inquiry, retrospectives
Citation:
Anders Baaz, Lena Holmberg, Agneta Nilsson, Helena Olsson, Anna Sandberg, "Appreciating Lessons Learned," IEEE Software, vol. 27, no. 4, pp. 72-79, July-Aug. 2010, doi:10.1109/MS.2009.198
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