Tiffany's Tip of the Month
I'm continually surprised by how often people tell me that doing a Lessons Learned evaluation is valuable, yet they don't do it as often as they'd like and sometimes not at all.
That in itself is a lesson learned that I'd like to share with you.
It's important to incorporate what some people call a "post mortem" into your process. However, instead of just waiting until the end, ideally, you'd do it at intermediate points in your project. You can do a Lessons Learned for yourself on your project management abilities and/or as a project team evaluating the project.
Regardless if you do a Lessons Learned in person, virtually, or via survey, make sure that people understand your intentions. A Lessons Learned is not a blaming session. The point is to understand what went well, so you can keep doing it, and to identify what didn't work, so you can fix it. It's also a time to celebrate successes (rarely done but everyone appreciates it), bring closure to the phase or project, and analyze what's needed for continuous improvement.
Be careful that a Lessons Learned evaluation doesn't become a morale buster. The keys are to set a positive tone and to ensure that you assign action item to owners for any improvements; otherwise, the action items will simply sit undone lying on paper, which renders them useless and a waste of everyone's time.
If done right and well, the information gained by Lessons Learned can contribute to a valuable knowledge database for future projects and stakeholders and be critical for process improvements. Most organizations can't afford to keep learning the same lessons over and over again. What about you?
Click here for a lessons learned template available free on our website.