Program Management

Lessons Learned

A lesson learned is information gained through experience that your organization should retain for future use and that can be relevant to other organizations. Depending on the lesson, it could be a valuable technique or an outcome that you wish to repeat or it could be an undesirable result you wish to avoid. Often, identifying your lessons learned is as simple as asking the question, “What worked well or what didn’t work so well?” Program Managers (PM) can use lessons learned to prevent undesirable events from reoccurring and implement best practices. Lessons learned can be categorized as:

  • Something learned from experience
  • An adverse experience that is captured and shared to avoid a recurrence
  • An innovative approach that is captured and shared to promote repeat application
  • Knowledge acquired from an innovation or an adverse experience that leads to a process improvement

AcqNotes: Lessons Learned

Documenting a useful lesson-learned requires a clear understanding of the purpose and importance of documenting the successes and/or failures of a project. Because lessons learned to serve as an important management tool in retaining organizational knowledge, reducing project risk, and improving project performance, they must have relevance to future projects. To build relevance into your lesson-learned and make them of value to others in addressing similar situations, you must:

  • Identify the project management element in which the problem arose
  • Describe how the problem arose and define the problem or positive development encountered
  • Provide concrete, practical solutions or recommendations based on this experience

AcqLinks and References:

Updated: 7/16/2017

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