Lessons Learned is the learning gained from the process of performing the project. Lessons learned may be identified at any point and are useful to help the project team share knowledge gained from the project experience.
Lessons learned are often agreed and documented during a post-project review meeting. A common and constructive way to structure these is meetings is by reviewing:
- the project objectives and business case,
- what went well,
- what didn't go so well
- and the lessons learned.
Starting with what went well helps to make the meeting positive and reminds the team of the overarching project objectives, which can get lost in the frustrations of pernickety user feedback.
A pro tip is to get some lessons learned prepared before the meeting. Then you already have something to discuss under 'what went well', which helps to stop the group leaping ahead to the 'what didn't go well' topics - some people will be desperate to have a moan and this gets them into a more constructive mindset.
Ground Rules for Lessons Learned meetings
Presenting these ground rules at the start of project review or lessons learned meetings also helps to set a positive atmosphere.
- Point fingers
- Blame others
- Offer constructive comments
- Suggest solutions
- Be open minded
- Identify the good and the not so good