Lesson Learned may look like another dictionary word but in fact it’s the opposite.

Lesson learned is the most important term one should know in life and in project management.

I remember a few years back when our project was just about to be finished, and I receive an email from my project manager Mr. Atiq ahmed.

The subject of the email was lesson learned and a word document as an attachment.

Honestly, I open the email, check the document and simply ignored it.

The reason of ignoring the message was none other than my ignorance;

As, I had no idea what a lesson learned is.
Also, I was unaware of it’s importance.

Now, after years, I can understand the importance of lesson learned and thought to write a blog post and spread the word.

In this blog post, we will try to cover some questions about lesson learned and try to answer them.

 

What Is a Lesson Learned

Lesson Learned is basically your or some one else experience, that have been achieved over years.

The knowledge, understanding and expertise that have been gained either working practically or seeing some one else practicing it.

These experiences can be good or bad, positive or negative, success and failure.

Lesson Learned and Project

Lesson learned is among the most important activity during the course of the project.

The project manager and project management team collect and document lesson learned throughout the project.

Lesson learned collected throughout the project are finally compiled into a single document before closing the project.

This document, then make up one of the most important part of the project documentation and becomes part of organizational process assets.

Lesson Learned and Project Management

Every seasoned project manager and mature organization should keep a database of all the lesson learned from the past projects.

Those lesson learned should be reviewed and analyzed before starting a similar or related project.

Lesson learned has significant importance and impact on the success of the project and organization.

Therefore lesson learned from past projects should be fully utilized and implemented and not just kept in documents.

Lesson Learned and Role of Project Manager and Project Management Team

Uptil now, we look at the definition, impact and importance of lesson learned.

But,

What exactly should go into the lesson learned document ?
and
What is the role of project manager and his project management team during a project?.

We know that lesson learned is basically experience from past and can be good or bad, success or failure, positive or negative.

We also know that lesson learned is collected throughout the project by the project manager and project management team.

“From on-wards, I will mention Project Manager and Project Management Team as “Management Team”.

[hr]Experience:[hr]
The management team should share their experience uptil now on the project.
Should make suggestions and recommendations on improving certain actions and processes.

They should share on how to improve the service fast and efficient.

They should analyze what went wrong and how can be avoided in future.
and
What went right and how can be improved in future.

[hr]Deviation:[hr]
The management team should look into the difference or deviation that have occurred in the project.

The project is always planned and hence the results should be compared with project management plan, whether the results are good or bad.

The project management plan should be consulted and accordingly refined on the current status.

The answers to the deviation should be given as why and how the deviation occurred.

and how can be avoided in future in case of negative behavior and enhancement in future in case of positive behavior.

[hr]Analysis:[hr]
Root cause analysis should be performed on all the outputs that have gone wrong and new strategies should be adopted to not repeat the same mistakes.

The management team should not just remove the problem but should dig deep into the sources that are causing a problem.

[hr]Risk:[hr]
Risk should be the main topic to be discussed in meetings.

What risks have occurred, and how to mitigate future risk events, based on the current project status.

Why certain risks were not identified and have occurred, and why and how certain risk did not appear as were expected.

[hr]

Conclusion: Whether you use lesson learned in your daily life or on your project, the idea is to take action on your or some one else lesson learned and improve, enhance, help yourself and others achieve success and not repeat the same mistakes that have been done.

This blog post is dedicated specifically to Mr. Atiq Khattak (A wonderful project manager and human being. Thanks for enlighten us with your extra ordinary project management skills) Mr.Hafeez Ahmed, Mr. Sajid Ali Khan and all project managers, who have been a source of inspiration to people like us.

Those were my views about lesson learned, yours may be different.

Please enlighten us with your valuable lesson learned from both your life projects and project management.

There are three ways you can do so:

  • Please share either as a comment below to this post.
  • If you think your lesson learned deserve a post.
    Please contact me and send me your lesson learned and I will post it.
  • Please post it in the lesson learned section of the Project Management Discussion forum.

image credit: choconancy1