Why Nobody Really Learns from ‘Lessons Learned’ in Projects
- by Marcus Glowasz
- in Project Analytics Project Management Practices
- posted June 4, 2020
In times where the Project Management industry is continuously confronted with low project performance rates, one process which aims to contribute to the improvements of project performance is to gather lessons and resulting learnings from a conducted project, commonly known as “Lessons Learned”.
This is an activity that usually is being executed as part of the project closure process, with the goal to feed its learnings into future projects and to avoid mistakes that have been made before.
The reality however is that Lessons Learned meetings are usually just conducted as part of some project protocol, just to get something off the chest and to move on. Often, such sessions are not being conducted at all because of time pressures to get going with the next project.
What often remains forgotten is what the whole purpose and goal of Lessons Learned supposed to be. The key goals should be:
- Recap on mistakes made in a project, and take measures to avoid those in future projects
- Identify what went well in a project and take measures to promote it towards “best practices”
- Improve performance of future projects in the organization
Especially the last item needs to be emphasized because the output from “Lessons Learned” is an artefact that should flow into any future project in the company, so that all project teams in an organization can benefit from it and project performance generally can improve. Especially in larger organizations we are facing the issue that such learnings are not shared appropriately or not at all.