Best Practices For Preparing a Lessons Learned Document

When a project is finished, you celebrate, right? Not so fast—you might not be finished with your project if you haven’t yet prepared a lessons learned document. If you’re studying for your PMP certification, you’ll want to understand why preparing a lessons learned document is important.

By collecting and publishing lessons the team learned while completing the previous project, your organization as a whole can benefit. You can help reduce the odds of other teams making your same mistakes, and provide insights into how various processes and procedures can be improved.

In this article, we will examine some of the best practices in preparing a lessons learned document along with how they can help an organization in improving its project performance.

Best Practices

  • Reuse lessons in your project. You’ll learn in PMP certification training that you should reuse lessons learned from past projects to better manage your current projects.
  • Create lessons learned throughout the project. You can save quite a bit of time by collecting them as you go along. Then, when the project is finished, you can finalize them during project closing or the project phase closing. This is one of the best ways to ensure that they are accurately recorded.
  • Identify Items in lessons learned Sessions. Consider holding regular brainstorming sessions with the team to unearth lessons that are valuable to the project. As we’ve discussed, this can help promote the success of future projects. It’s best not to leave it until the end of the project when memories have faded.
  • Include all your experiences. Be sure to should include positive as well as negative experiences in the lessons learned document to add the highest value to all the future projects in the organization.
  • Involve all stakeholders while preparing the lessons learned. Be sure to include everyone, including all relevant stakeholders, while preparing the lessons learned, whether you prepare the list during or after the project. This will help ensure that all the lessons are captured in the document.
  • Solicit feedback from all stakeholders. Consider conducting a post-project survey to solicit feedback on the project from the project team, customers, and stakeholders who were well acquainted with the management of the project. This helps in capturing the lessons learned in the project while they are fresh in people’s minds. You could summarize the results and pass the recommendations to future teams.
  • Store your lessons learned document in a central repository in your organization. This makes it easier for other project teams to access them whenever it is required. Many organizations have an online portal for document sharing—think SharePoint, Google Docs, OneDrive, or another centralized network location.
  • Archive your lessons learned documents. Lessons learned documents should be archived as historical project data and incorporated into organizational lessons learned.
  • Share your lessons learned with other project teams. The basic objective behind documenting lessons learned is to provide other project teams with information that can increase their efficiency and effectiveness and build on the experience that has been earned by each completed project. Sharing your lessons learned with other teams helps improve the overall performance of the organization.

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PMP is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

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  • PMP, PMI, PMBOK, CAPM, PgMP, PfMP, ACP, PBA, RMP, SP, and OPM3 are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.