Hello my friend,
In this blogpost I’ll talk a little bit about particular importance of lessons learned during the project. In this term I also include all useful documents created during the successfully (hopefully) done project. Why is it so important? The answer is below.
Why have we succeed? Why not?
The pace of current life is really high. Usually you have a plenty of new projects to do upon completing the current one. On the one hand it’s good, because business continue to grow and at the end of the day the new projects creates revenue. On the other hand the ending of the project isn’t only about party with the team.
The definition of the project according to the PMBOK includes remark that each project creates unique result. In my opinion it means that each project gives you unique experience as well and it totally depends on you, whether you collect this experience or not. In order to convert experience in knowledge, skill or tool, you need analysis and remember it. It’s both relevant for negative and positive experience.
For example, during the projects some risks have occurred that significantly increased the project’s budget, though their probability was very low. It may mean that they were either underestimated or it was just an occasion. Until you deeply analyze it, you can’t improve the risk management for the next projects.
Another example is that your team has created very good process, how to react on the certain incidents. During the project this process was working well and it’s wise to reuse it at other projects as well. The bad story is that such process wasn’t formalized during the projects and it will silently day with assigning different team members to different projects. But if you analyze with the team this process and formalize it afterwards, you’ll find a way how make it more generic and independent from certain personality (only dependent on roles inside the team).
There is always room for improvement
The lessons learned actually don’t relate only to the closing phase of the project. As the project itself is usually being progressive elaborated, it makes sense to perform analysis of ongoing activities, achievements and faults in order to incorporate their results even into ongoing project plan. Such activity will give you tactical advantage.
On the other hand the overall review of the project and analysis it as a whole will give you possibility to assess the strategy and improve it for new projects.
Sometimes this task is transferred to PMO. I think it’s a bad idea, because PMO isn’t deeply involved into all phases of the project (besides situations when there is directive PMO). As a project manager you has information about all nuances of the project and you definitely should find to discuss the project with your core team.
New projects bring new revenue, new challenges and new achievements. That’s why it’s very crucial to improve our approach to manage them that develops together with the experience. Analyze what you have done and it will bring its benefits. Take care and good bye!