SPE 110211 - Why It Is Difficult To Learn Lessons: Insights from Decision Theory and Cognitive Science

2008 Summary, H.J. Duhon, SPE, and J.S. Elias, Gibson Applied Technology and Engineering

Though engineers and managers routinely express the desire to learn from previous project experience, we typically do not learn effectively from our projects. The failure to learn valid and valuable lessons from project experiences can be attributed to a number of cognitive and social factors.

Fortunately, a great deal of literature in the fields of decision theory and cognitive science is relevant to the subject. Unfortunately, much of this literature is unknown to most practicing engineers. This paper presents a structured method for identifying learning limits, an introduction to current thinking in areas of knowledge required to implement the method, a summary of the results of applying of the method, and suggestions for improving our ability to learn from project experiences.

Source: SPE Projects, Facilities & Construction, Volume 3, Number 3, September  2008

Copyright 2008. Society of Petroleum Engineers