Are you learning from your Lessons Learned?

by garyg 9. March 2010 10:17

I'm always happy to see an organization I'm working with recording "lessons learned" documentation from multiple iterations of the same product, or successive project engagement.  The real key however is taking this information and turning into action items that help you get further along.  Too often I see teams committing items to Lessons Learned documents more like a confessional than a plan to not make the same mistake, or repeat a successful technique.

There are some simple steps we can use to help ensure a learning experience:

  1. Document collaboratively.  This will avoid personal attacks and maximize the effort. I find it best to conduct several short meetings to get this done than one long one (again no confessionals here).
  2. Successes and Failures.  Too often people are quick to point out failures but its just important to make sure we don't miss the things that worked well the next time.
  3. Everyone Participates.  These sessions aren't just for the PM's, get everyone involved in the project involved.  This would also include your outside vendors if the relationship allows.
  4. Rinse and Repeat.  Take your list of Lessons Learned and put them into documents used in every project Initialization phase.

Thats about it.  Hopefully we are all a few short steps away from the next level of productivity.


About the author

Gary Gauvin is a 20+ year Information Technologies industry leader, currently working as the Director of Application Lifecycle Management for CD-Adapco, a leading developer of CFD/CAE solutions. Working in both enterprise environments and small businesses, Gary enjoys bringing ROI to the organizations he works with through strategic management and getting hands-on wherever practical. Among other qualifications, Gary holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Technologies, an MBA, a PMP (Project Management Professional) certification, and PSM (Professional Scrum Master) certification.  Gary has also been recognized as a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional.

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