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Vincent - Over the years I’ve seen lessons learned captured in a number of different ways. Like any process, the quality of the lessons learned will depend on the quality of the inputs, but it is equally about the outputs. For it to be successful, the lessons learned is not about producing a beautiful report, it is about implementing concrete improvement actions, and ensuring these actions are done.
At its simplest form, a lesson learned may be a statement with the structure:
• If you do….then….will happen
Ideally it will have third part to it, describing the context
• If you do….and these conditions are present….then ….will happen
The same kind of simple logic statements can be found in a well designed Logical framework description of a project design:
If these Outputs are delivered, and these Assumptions are correct, then these Outcomes will happen”.
While in the Logical Framework this type statement describes a plan, a Lessons Learned statement should describe what actually happened.
In its more complex form, a Lesson Learned could be told in the form of a story, which describes the context, what happened there and what were the consequences. Lessons learned told via stories are likely to be remembered, and passed on.
Lessons learned may also be summarized in the form of a headline, which seeks to capture the story.
I agree with Nasrullah Mohammed, the more sensitive the format of lessons learned is, the better. It allows team members not to see this process very complex and to record the lessons learned and on the other hand that people use it.
Usually in the format of lessons learned is recorded:
1. Who places the lesson learned
2. That it was done right or wrong
3. In what affect the project
4. And how could we improve on future projects
Hope this can help you. Good luck.
I like the idea of making it like a story, more can be understood about the context.
Do you have key words so to facilitate search?
Would you put the name of all who participate in the lessons learned?
I use a matrix template with clarifying needed columns.
When reading the Lessons learned and need some clarification. Sometimes the name is someone who left the company, so more name increase chance to get answers.
We do have an online portal where wecstore all our data. One of those sections is dedicated for Lessons Learned and is accessible by all employees. Most of the time we do those on powerpoint as they contain pictures and requires explanation.
I worked with different Lessons Learned structures, from templated excels files, from word documents at the project level in a share point.
All depends on the organizations, PMO, or a number of projects/team members.
For example, in a case of manufacturing security issues, I saw power point with pictures, completely different in my IT projects. (as Rami noted before)
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