Friday, March 14, 2008

Lessons Learned Survey:

for even more on lessons learned view my 11Mar2009 post on it (which includes common lessons learned questions)...

The standard steps for the lessons learned process are:
  1. Identify comments and recommendations that can be valuable for future projects.
  2. Document and share your findings.
  3. Analyze and organize the lessons for later application
  4. Store findings in a repository.
  5. Retrieve the lessons for use on current projects.
Typically at the meeting we ask, what went right, what went wrong and what needs to be improved. The main issue with these face to face meetings is that all the input may not come out due to team members who are afraid to criticize the process.

So as Project Managers how do we crack these team members shells to get them to express their thoughts?

A survey. Typically at the end of my lesson learned meetings I pass out pads of post it notes to each member and ask them to write down a survey question and some possible answers. Many times this involvement lets the team member ask their question.

Ok, I have the questions for the survey now what? I use

It is easy to use and allows the data to be exported to Excel. Another reason why I like this, is that it allows the survey taker to be anonymous and allows them to write in comments.

Finally once we have the survey and the minutes from the meeting and the executives have read them now what?

I have worked with large and small organizations and typically the large ones have a formal database in which these items can be put into. And smaller organizations typically have a central location for these documents which will be used on current project and future projects.

Hopefully as your organization matures the lessons learned will be incorporated into everyday procedures. If they do then you know the process is effective and your organization is willing to change to become better!

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