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Lessons Learned

Summary

Capturing lessons learned involved taking everything into consideration that has been encountered through the life and key areas of the project, both good and bad, and articulating this information in an organized document or database.

The format of how the lessons learned information is captured is vital, as it needs to be easily searchable by managers of future projects in order for it to be useful. Otherwise, it's simply lessons recorded, not lessons learned. Likewise, there needs to be a process step at the beginning of projects to examine the lessons learned database (ideally by some relatable search criteria, whether by type of project, specific process step, or appropriate tags or keywords). This step is often lacking, and thus the lessons are rarely, if ever, viewed once they're captured.

All stakeholders and project team members should contribute to this process, because each will likely have a different perspective regarding what went right and what went wrong. The ultimate purpose of the lessons learned document is to guide future projects, and build on the experience gained from your project. Different methods can be used effectively to capture lessons learned, including team meetings, one on one interviews, survey forms, survey websites, and more.

This best practice offers guidelines for capturing and leveraging lessons learned, which can serve to guide future projects, and build on the experience gained from your project.

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