Sunday, August 30, 2009

Lessons Learned, where to document it?

Part of the Project Management process is to document lessons learned throughout the life of the project. Sometimes it means having formal meetings to discuss them and other times things just happen that should be documented (remember not all lessons learned are negative). Link to Lesson Learned Questions

So where should you document the lessons learned? A Word document? A custom built database? How about a wiki or even a blog? The concept of a blog may be new tool to document the lessons learned that happen and if it is open it will allow others to document their own findings. You can group them with meta tags to make it easier to group like posts, and include links to lessons learned surveys conducted on your PM process.

Times are changing within Project Management and web 2.0 phenomenon is starting to creep into our project management processes….

Notable Quote:

"The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn."
Alvin Toffler


  1. Lessons Learned should always be documented within the project folder (I prefer MS Sharepoint), together with all relevant project documents. Within the lessons learned , links to the referred documents are necessary, to ensure the "lesson" can be followed along the documentation, project plans, calculations, etc ... . To ensure an official lessons learned document, I prefer to have this last document digitally signed by all parties, same procedure with all official project documents and quality gate results.

  2. Andre: excellent point about using Sharepoint to house your project documents. The beauty of Sharepoint is that it has a built in wiki and discussion board that could be used for lessons learned (and I wouldn't be surprised if there was a blog plug-in available too). Thanks for your comments!

  3. There are several problems with conducting the Lessons Learned at the end of the project. First, most of the project learning happens in the heat of the project execution, which can be months, or even years before the administrative closeout process when the Lessons Learned session is "supposed" to be conducted. Second, by the time you get to the Lessons Learned during Administrative Closeout, most of the project team members, including the project manager have been reassigned to new and, quite frankly, more exciting projects.

    The way around both of these problems is make the Lessons Learned process an everyday occurrence, rather than a batch "one-time, end of project" occurrence, documenting the lessons as they occur, in a micro-blogging "Twitter-like" fashion.

    Hal explains it much better over at Reforming Project Management: I'd post the link but this comment field won't let me... :(

  4. Elisabeth,

    Excellant point and agree with you 100% I wrote about it in my 10Mar2009 post

    Here is Hal's post:


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