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31 Types of Lessons Learned

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Lessons learned is the practice of recording the knowledge gained by a project at project close. It's often focused on failures, inefficiencies and project issues that can feed into improving future projects. Lessons learned is also is a final chance to leave behind knowledge about the project that may be useful for future purposes such as audits or service support before the project team breaks up. The following are common types of information that are included in lessons learned.

Architecture And Design

A record of how well an architecture and design supported project requirements.


Missing or incorrect assumptions that caused project issues such as a gap in expectations.

Change Control

How well the change control process achieved its purpose such as preventing scope creep.

Change Management

Change management factors such as resistance to change.

Corrective Action

The effectiveness of issue handling.

Decision Making

Comments around decision making processes and their impact on the project.


Was the project too complex? Could it have been decomposed into smaller, more manageable projects?


The accuracy of estimates and estimation techniques.

Integration Management

A look at integration management factors such as coordination of project elements and tradeoffs that were made.

Knowledge Management

How well knowledge management processes and tools supported the project.

Performance Management

Any performance issues and how they were managed.

Program Management

The impact of related projects and program management processes.

Project Constraints

Tradeoffs that were incurred due to constraints such as budget or hard deadlines.

Project Engagement

The engagement of stakeholders and general enthusiasm of the project team.

Project Expectations

Did stakeholders develop expectations that were out of line with project realities? How was this managed?

Project Governance

How well project governance processes worked to identify and clear road blocks.

Project Leadership

Comments on the role of project leaders.

Project Management Tools

The impact of tools or a lack of tools.

Project Methodology

Ideas to improve the organization's project methodology or practices.

Project Planning

The planning techniques that were used and how well they worked out.

Project Schedule

Comments around the baseline schedule and the scheduling of change requests.

Project Sponsor

In many cases, lessons learned conversations are focused on the role of the sponsor.


The quality assurance process and related factors such as requirements and the quality of deliverables.


It is common for project issues or failure to begin with requirements that are incomplete or open to interpretation leading to expectation gaps.

Risk Management

The risk management process and the impact of risk treatments.

Roles & Responsibilities

The clarity and efficiency of project roles and responsibilities.

Schedule Compression

Attempts at schedule compression such as fast tracking and how it worked out.


Skill gaps and how they were addressed.

Vendor Performance

The performance of vendors and how any issues were managed.

Vendor Relationship Management

The general relationship with vendors and its impact.


Tactical responses to project issues and their effect.


Lessons learned is a common practice that is built into things such as project management processes. This involves reflecting on an initiative and identifying problems that occurred, areas for improvement and best practices. Here best practices is a common term for a process, approach or technique that worked well such that there is an opportunity to scale it.
Definition: Lessons Learned
The practice of capturing project knowledge before a project closes.
Learning from successes and failures.
Recording anything the future may need to know about your project such as the rationale for decisions or how problems were solved.
Related Concepts
Next: Examples of Lessons Learned
More about lessons learned:
Decision Making
Fail Often
Fail Well
Lessons Learned
Project Sponsor
Risk Treatment
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