Most of us try to go through the exercise of capturing project learnings before we run off to our next project. We try to it while the information is still fresh in our mind and with the intent of improving so we can do a better job the next time.
But how often do we actually pull those Lessons Learned out and review them when we’re starting a new project? I mean, the whole point of lessons learned is to keep us from making the same mistakes over and over!
Gathering Lessons Learned is just not ‘a thing to do’. Everything we learn from working on projects (good and bad) teaches us a lesson and we should share these learnings with the project team or business so they can be applied to future projects. There are very good reasons for conducting a Lessons Learned at the end of your project, such as:
Process Improvement – Don’t just document the lessons learned, use them to improve the methods and processes used in the future. Take action to improve the way work gets done on projects – schedule a follow up meeting to determine how to implement the improvements derived from your lessons learned to change the processes used the next time.
Continuous Learning – Cultivate a learning environment on your projects. Make a point of reviewing lessons learned at the beginning of new projects to confirm the usefulness of the documentation and to build a routine of collecting and consulting this knowledge. Have your team contribute their learnings to a wiki throughout the project to benefit from real-time learnings.
Best Practices – Use that lessons learned hindsight to give you foresight in the form of best practices. Turn valuable experience into best practices that will guide all your projects. This standardized and proven documentation will see you through resource transitions without losing all the knowledge as well as providing consistency in your project delivery.
Don’t let history keep repeating itself – learn from your lessons!
For a guideline on what to look for at your lessons learned, download a copy of our FREE Project Learnings Template from our Cool Tools.