After the audit was performed, Gary asked Uma how lessons learned were captured. Because CSM hoped to have more B2B projects, these lessons would be helpful. The team went through the entire project structure and captured lessons learned from each stage. The team also captured the stakeholders' reaction.
One method of integration is to capture and use project lessons learned. These enable project teams to perform better in subsequent project stages and on future projects.
Most organizations do not handle lessons learned very well. Sometimes the information is never gathered. Sometimes the information is gathered, but very few, if any, have access to it. Frequently, the information is gathered, organized, and available, but no one looks at it. Organizations will unfortunately tend to make the same mistakes repeatedly because they do not learn from their prior mistakes.
Another issue with lessons learned is the timing of when they are captured. If a project leader and the team decide to wait until the end of the project to gather all the lessons learned information, a number of things can impede the process or the quality of the results, such as:
Team members with knowledge of the events may have departed to work on other projects
On long projects, the project team members may have forgotten key points that occurred early in the project lifecycle
At the end of the project, there may be insufficient time or budget left to capture lessons learned effectively.
The project leader needs to include capturing lessons learned as a task in the project plan with resources assigned. Lessons-learned tasks, including gathering, compiling, analyzing, and disseminating information, should take place at the end of each project lifecycle stage.
Project leadership considerations related to the capturing and sharing of lessons learned include:
Project leaders should develop learning organizations
Project leaders should set the example of using continuous improvement
Project leaders should actively listen
Project organizations should develop and use a methodology to consistently gather, share, and benefit from the lessons learned
Project leaders should incorporate previous learning so that the project can be "jump started"
Project leaders should discover innovative ideas that can be pursued to improve the processes.
A Project Leader Needs to:
Accept that it is often difficult to capture project lessons
Have the courage to insist that lessons learned are captured
Exercise the wisdom to actually use the lessons learned on future projects.