Lessons Learned – not a one off activity

So many times I have been involved in projects where once the solution has been delivered a project manager, sponsor or vendor will say “now we need to review the project and record the lessons learned”. The idea being that the lessons can then be used to ensure those mistakes aren’t repeated, or that things that really worked well can be replicated on subsequent projects.

Sounds good, right? Wrong! Why should the next project be the beneficiary of your hard won lessons? A lessons learned log should be maintained throughout the life of a project. The log should be reviewed and discussed within the team regularly and include stakeholders or their representatives from the business. That way you can:

  1. prevent poor behaviour recurring
  2. identify good behaviour and encourage it to be repeated
  3. capture key business drivers that have been highlighted by any issues that have arisen
  4. highlight areas of conflict between business areas (e.g. Sales v marketing) and the best mechanism(s) for resolving the conflict.

By doing this throughout the life of a project, the project becomes self correcting as those individual experiences are shared with the team. This reenforces behaviours, establishes trust within the team and with the business and ultimately helps improve the chances for the successful delivery of the project. At the end of the day delivery is what it’s all about.

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