A Project Lesson Learnt Log is a document that is meant to gather and store the lessons learned throughout the course of the project. It is used as basis for the Project Lesson Report or what is also known as post mortem report. Although some areas of the Project Lesson Learnt Log are kept confidential, the document is often stored in a company-wide server that can be easily accessed by members of the organization.
What should be included in a Lessons Learned Log?
The contents and formats of a Lessons Learned Log can vary from project to project. However, a generic version of the Project Lesson Learnt Log can be used for just about any project. To maximize the document’s use, lessons learned should be gathered and logged at the end of every stage throughout the course of the project at a minimum. Ideally, the log should be updated and reviewed regularly to make sure that the Lessons Learned Report is comprehensive.
• Assessment of Management and Quality Processes
– The management and quality processes should be assessed after every completed stage in the project. Notable points include processes that worked and went well, what didn’t work and what processes need to be improved. It should also include recommendations on how certain procedures can be enhanced so that the team can deliver better products or services in the future.
• Analysis of Significant Events or Risks that Occurred
– Risks are present throughout the course of the project and they can negatively or positively impact a project’s outcome. Risks should be logged when they happen as the symptoms and impacts are valuable addition to the company’s knowledge base. The same is true for any significant event, internal or external, which can positively or negatively impact the project. This is especially important if the risks or the events lead to a deviation or changes in the original project plan.
• Assessment of Tools, Methods and Technology Used
– If a project is using a new technology, it is important to note whether or not the new technology performed according to expectations. If it was an old technology, evaluation of its performance can help management decide if and when it is due for an upgrade. The same can be said about tools, methodologies and techniques. This is to ensure that the company stays abreast, if not ahead of, competition.
• Measurements of Efforts Used
– How much effort and resources did the company invest to complete a stage or task in the project?
• Testing Results and Quality Reviews
– Product testing and quality reviews are some of the key elements in a Project Lesson Learnt Log. How a product or service compares to that of the competition or stakeholder expectations is a good basis for whether or not it needs improvement.
Why Collect Lessons Learned?
The Project Lesson Learnt Log is intended for use by the corporate group or the group in charge of improving standards and quality measurements. Input should come from the project manager as well as team members who were involved in the project in one way or another. The lessons could be derived from the observation and experience with certain processes and tools as well as the comparison between the project plan versus what was actually achieved at a given stage in the project. Lessons learned, logged and collated into a report, are valuable in building up the company’s expertise and track record.