5 Tips for Your Next Lessons Learned Exercise

Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it
Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it
Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it

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I posted a mention of an article this week called “10 DOs That We DON’T in Project Management” by Bola Adesope – published in www.projecttimes.com.

A good article – but what caught my eye was item #9.

“Lessons Learned – As a best practice, the Project Manager conducts a Lessons Learned session at the end of every project. Expectations are a Lesson Learned session will identify what went well, what did not go so well, and identify recommendations for the next project team. In our research, over 95% of practitioners did not conduct Lessons Learned sessions.“

He closes with “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”.

So, my first tip for Lessons Learned is easy…

1. Do it! There really should be no excuse.  This is a critical part of every project:

  • for you, the project manager, so you can learn and grow as a professional
  • for the project sponsor so he/she can understand what they could have done better
  • for the customer, so that it can see that there is continuous improvement within your organization
  • for your team, so that they can learn and, just like you, grow as professionals

2. Don’t wait till the end of your project. Schedule interim gatherings to review lessons learned throughout the project to be able to benefit from the project now rather than on the next project.

3. Create a process that takes the audience through each phase of the project and touches the key areas:

  • Planning
  • Communications
  • Role and Responsibilities
  • Risk Management and Control

4. Reward action. Create a way to reward team members and others who take these lessons and create a fix, a solution, new process or whatever, as a result.
5. Report the results well. A very general statement that suggests that the right people get it, at the right time, in the right format and for the right reasons.  Make sure your efforts don’t end up in the dust bin.

That’s what I think.  What about you… so what are your tips to Lessons Learned?  Let’s get this conversation going.

image provided courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net




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1 thought on “5 Tips for Your Next Lessons Learned Exercise”

  1. Dominic Pelletier

    Good article! I wrote one about how to conduct lessons learned on LinkedIn a while ago and indeed, there is no excuses to not conduct and making sure they are conducted in an appropriately manner.

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