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Lessons Learned – A Critical Project Management Task

Templates used to solicit lessons learned feedback can be as simple or complex as needed to meet the project’s needs.

As a project progresses, project teams should frequently participate in a Lessons Learned review. This critical learning task enhances current and future project management strategies. These documents should be considered “living documents” subject to pre-, present, and post-project implementation change. They are designed to capture positive and negative experiences throughout the project life cycle. When a new project is started, reviewing common historical lessons learned can help guide the new project. In addition, the capturing and review of prior experiences can help determine best practices to be utilized to ensure success.

Input must be requested from stakeholders at all levels. Each stakeholder will have different experiences and bring other lessons learned as a subject matter expert. It can be useful to group this input by high-level categories, such as Management Issues, Contracting & Vendor Selection, Functional Team Issues, Technical Issues, Project Management Issues, etc.

Templates used to solicit lessons learned feedback can be as simple or complex as needed to meet the project’s needs. Many times, the best technique is to request basic information as:

The team members must receive feedback on the final report to know their concerns were heard, understood, and acted upon. Below are some common lessons learned from CAD/RMS/Mobile/Jail projects Winbourne Consulting has managed and a typical discussion of each.

About the Author:  Kirby Beyer is a Senior Consultant with Winbourne Consulting and a retired Assistant Sheriff from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

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