| John Spacey, January 28, 2016 updated on March 26, 2021
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.
AssumptionsMissing or incorrect assumptions that caused project issues such as a gap in expectations.
Change ControlHow well the change control process achieved its purpose such as preventing scope creep.
Change ManagementChange management factors such as resistance to change.
Corrective Action The effectiveness of issue handling.
Decision MakingComments around decision making processes and their impact on the project.
DecompositionWas the project too complex? Could it have been decomposed into smaller, more manageable projects?
EstimatesThe 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 ManagementHow well knowledge management processes and tools supported the project.
Performance Management Any performance issues and how they were managed.
Program ManagementThe 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 SponsorIn many cases, lessons learned conversations are focused on the role of the sponsor.
QualityThe quality assurance process and related factors such as requirements and the quality of deliverables.
Requirements It is common for project issues or failure to begin with requirements that are incomplete or open to interpretation leading to expectation gaps.
Risk ManagementThe 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.
SkillsSkill 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.
WorkaroundTactical responses to project issues and their effect.
|Definition||The practice of capturing project knowledge before a project closes.|
|Value||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||Fail OftenFail Well|
This is the complete list of articles we have written about lessons learned.
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A guide to project risk.
A list of basic project management techniques.
A definition of workaround with examples.
A list of project branding techniques.
A definition of project stakeholder management with examples.
A definition of action plan with examples.
The primary types of cost overrun.
The definition of document control with examples.
A guide to project oversight.
A definition of design driven development with examples.
A list of common project risks.
A list of common project stakeholders.
A list of common business risks.
The difference between a risk and an issue.
The four things that can be done about risk.
The definition of secondary risk with examples.
A guide to creating a risk register with an example.
A definition of risk perception with examples.
The common types of implementation.
A reasonably complete guide to project risk management.
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