10.3 Distribute Information Process

The Distribute Information process gets general project information to those who need and expect it by executing the communications management plan.

This process also ensures that project documents are archived and that lessons learned are collected, documented, and stored for later project teams.

Information needed is gathered and retrieved from sources like electronic databases, project management software, project libraries, and issue logs.

Effective communication skills are needed to reformulate the information into a message that is clear, concise, and meaningful to those for whom it’s intended.

Distributed information is then shared through appropriate business mediums such as e-mail, paper documents, meetings, portals, intranets.

Distributed information falls into three broad categories.

Project reports include status reports, presentations, issue dispositions, and ad-hoc requests.

Project records are generally miscellaneous correspondence, memos, and historically important documents like contracts. Lessons learned is the third category.

Distribute Information Process Decomposition

Distribute Information Process Decomposition

Distribute Information Process: Inputs

  • Project management plan:
    The communications management plan, a subsidiary component of the project management plan, contains all the details about how project information will be distributed.
  • Performance reports:
    These provide performance reporting on activities, accomplishments, forecasts, progress, and issues.
    They're an output of the communication process Report Performance.
  • Organizational process assets:
    Templates can provide assistance in compiling information to be distributed.

Distribute Information Process: Tools and Techniques

  • Communication methods:
    Communication methods are how information is shared. It includes meetings, conversations, presentations, and conferences.
  • Information distribution tools:
    Communication is distributed via a variety of means that are appropriate for the message and content.
    Distribution tools include hard copy reports, electronic databases, e-mail, telephone, voice, video conferences, webinars, postal mail, websites, intranet, and project portals.

Distribute Information Process: Outputs

  • Organizational process assets updates:
    As information is distributed, it becomes part of the organization’s knowledge base. Distribute Information results in project reports, project records, lessons learned documentation.

Lessons Learned

Lessons learned are part of organizational process assets and are inputs to all project planning processes.

Lessons learned are usually from prior projects (though lessons learned from the current project may be relevant also).

The lessons learned process analyzes what has occurred within the project and identifies the strategies that worked well and where improvements could have been made, and it makes sure that these experiences and knowledge are properly collected, documented, organized, and made available to the performing organization.

These experiences help later project teams avoid mistakes.

One way to think about this process is that "lessons learned" for the current project become "lessons applied" in later projects, circumventing future mistakes.

Lessons learned from the existing project are gathered and collected throughout the entire project lifecycle.

There are usually team sessions devoted specifically to reviewing, discussing, and documenting lessons learned.

Lessons learned should be developed with later project teams in mind, so the lessons need to be clear, descriptive, significant (not state the obvious), and be as empirical as possible.

Because lessons learned is a valuable tool that increases the chances that later projects will be successful, project managers have a professional obligation to ensure that the lessons learned process is undertaken.

Everyone on the project team should participate in collecting lessons learned, and at certain points within the project, such as phase transitions or major milestones, the lessons learned collection should be reviewed by the team.

It's probably best to have one team member serve as the information gatekeeper for lessons learned because he or she can make sure that items aren't duplicated and that they meet documentation standards.

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