The “Lessons Learned” concept is a tool I learned from my Masters Certificate program at the University of Denver. It has been valuable to me throughout my career.
Lessons learned sessions are an informal process after the project or phase is completed, a time for retrospection. It is generally conducted as a meeting involving the project manager and key representatives from the customers side.
Setting time for “Lessons Learned”, is an opportunity for the project team to discover their strengths and weaknesses. A timeframe for team members to discuss successes, mishaps, and unintended outcomes during the project. Feedback and and recommendations from others and what worked and what did not should be recorded for others to glean from for similar projects in the future.
The lessons-learned meeting should not serve as a venue for blaming. It is important to address shortcomings where expectations were not achieved. It is an opportunity to identify what worked or even exceeded expectations. Documenting the lessons learned should be in-depth and shared in a project lesson database to team members for future reference. Build on the knowledge gleaned from projects to better serve your customers and stakeholders.