Knowledge discovery from post project reviews

Many construction companies conduct reviews on project completion to enhance learning and to fulfil quality management procedures. Often these reports are filed away never to be seen again. This means that potentially important knowledge that may assist other project teams is not exploited. In order to ascertain whether useful knowledge can be gleaned from such reports, Knowledge Discovery from Text (KDT) and text mining (TM) are applied. Text mining avoids the need for a manual search through a vast number of reports, potentially of different formats and foci, to seek trends that may be useful for current and future projects. Pilot tests were used to analyse 48 post-project review reports. The reports were first reviewed manually to identify key themes. They were then analysed using text mining software to investigate whether text mining could identify trends and uncover useful knowledge from the reports. Pilot tests succeeded in finding common occurrences across different projects that were previously unknown. Text mining could provide a potential solution and would aid project teams to learn from previous projects. However, a lot of work is currently required before the text mining tests are conducted and the results need to be examined carefully by those with domain knowledge to validate the results obtained.