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Topics: Integration Management, Lessons Learned
Creating A Best Practice/Lessons Learned Knowledge Repository for a PMO
I am trying to develop a knowledge repository where PMs within the PMO can search for as well as contribute to lessons learned or best practices/techniques resulting from a project. We have sharepoint, so I was thinking creating a simple sharepoint list might work, and the list would capture the following info:
1. Project Management Area: This would be a dropdown of the applicable PM area the lesson learned, or best practice falls under, i.e. schedule management, cost management, etc.
2. Type: Lesson Learned or Best Practice/Technique
3. Date Entered
4. Person Entered
5. Lesson Learned/Best Practice Name
6. Description of what went well or didn't go well
7. Recommended Improvement

Any feedback, suggestions are welcome.
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John -

You might find it is more effective to:

1. Bake lessons directly into your company's SOPs and templates
2. Conduct regular community of practice meetings to share learnings orally between PMs

The problems with most repositories are:

1. The effort to search to value received ratio is high so many practitioners won't bother to search

2. Critical context is often missing to understand if a given lesson applies in a given context

3. Time is usually not spent curating and refining lessons before they go into a repository

You could watch/listen to the on demand webinar I did in this community on the subject of Lessons Learned from a couple of years back to get more tips...

A solution based on a Filenet system would be useful to store all lessons learned information.

It is a great initiative but Kiron makes a valid point in his comment. On the other hand, if you decide to go in this direction, it would be good to add a filter for industries as well as some lessons learned are industry specific.

In multiple discussion on this topic, many responders have stated that their lessons learned repositories become mostly useless due to the inability to find relevant learnings (mine included).

For information to be useful, it must be accessible. BoKs for entire disciplines like the PMBoK address this by carefully organizing the information into a taxonomy. The PMBoK is on V7, so don't let perfection out of the gate get in the way of good enough to be useful. If a better organization structure is found, reorganize the information.

Well organized data doesn't address the problem of finding what you don't know is in there. You can read relevant sections of any BoK, but having some kind of keyword search with standardized selections can help uncover the gems buried elsewhere.

If you have savvy IT people, there are big data ecosystems that can make the data more accessible. If it's a bunch of drop-down filters in Excel, not so much.
Including keywords can be helpful in searching lessons learned. I added a column named Keywords where they can be entered separated by commas. The trick is coming up with the right keywords.
Like Kiron, I incorporate my lessons learned into my organizational process assets: business rules, templates, checklists, ...

As soon as people pull up the asset for their project, they will get the benefit of your lessons.

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