Lessons Learned and the Storyteller

Antonio is a project manager in Caracas, Venezuela with more than 25 years of experience as a PM, project engineer, engineering coordinator, mechanical designer and consultant.

Lessons learned are the documented information that reflects both the positive and negative experiences of an activity, project or entrepreneurship and include recommendations to improve future performance. They help an organization from repeating the same mistakes—and to take advantage of success.

According to PMI, the lessons learned process includes five steps:

  1. Identify the findings
  2. Document it
  3. Analyze it
  4. Store it
  5. Retrieve it

Identifying findings means discovering and capturing facts, figures, comments and recommendations that could be valuable to future projects. Preparing the lessons learned session means:

  1. Identifying participants
  2. Defining and assigning roles and responsibilities
  3. Writing basic rules
  4. Developing an agenda

In addition, the facilitator should provide a summary of the project to the participants to help them be better prepared for the session. The session should identify project successes and failures, and include recommendations to improve future performance on projects.

The facilitator is the key figure—he or she is in charge of ensuring that all the relevant items are included in the discussion and that the lessons learned process is followed. They ensure everyone agrees to ground rules at the beginning and discusses expectations. The facilitator also promotes being critical of facts and findings—…

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