Project Management

Applying Lessons Learned: Three Steps

Kenneth has 14 years of healthcare experience in government and private industry. Over eight years of experience managing healthcare IT projects, operations, contracts, and personnel. His work experience includes project management, contracts and procurements, data analysis, claims adjudication, business writing, and business process modeling. Kenneth was certified in 2006 as a Project Management Professional.

Do your lessons learned documents sit on a shelf collecting dust (virtual dust in the case of an electronic folder on the computer), or are they useful documents for future projects? Many projects collect lessons learned after the project or a phase of the project is finished, but oftentimes they only do this because it is a contractual deliverable or required in the methodology that the project team is following.

Once the lessons learned are collected though, the project management office should ensure that the final document is actually used in future projects. The best time for making sure this is done is at the beginning of a project or a major phase of a project. The project manager should knock the dust off the old documents and get the team together to make sure that those lessons learned are applied to the new project by following the three steps below. Hopefully, this work will have a positive impact on the project at hand.

Step 1: Review
The first step is to review the old lessons learned from previous projects that are similar in nature to the current project. The similarity should be determined by comparing the final products and also by comparing the project teams and the project methodology that will be used for the project. Just because an earlier project dealt with different technology or different clients, the way the project was executed might …

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That's the true spirit of Christmas; people being helped by people other than me.

- Jerry Seinfeld