Lessons Learned Meeting Report


Quick Summary
Process for holding a meeting aimed at capturing project wins, challenges, and resulting "lessons learned" and producing a report at the end. A great way to promote continuous improvement across all your projects.


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What this is

Example "lessons learned" report from holding a team review to discuss how the project is going, and at the end, how it went. What did you do well? What did you not do so well? What was the bottom-line result for the project? What can you learn for next time that will help you and others on other projects? This template gives suggestions for the process, and a sample output report.


Why it's useful

Lessons learned meetings are your best weapon for implementing continuous improvement. These reviews give everyone a chance to freely discuss the good and bad aspects of the project so that good practices are repeated and bad practices are eliminated.


How to use it

Lessons Learned meetings should be held at or near the end of a project, and can also be useful at key interim points during longer projects, such as after the planning phase in a major project. The entire core team attends these reviews. Key functional managers may sit in but should not impede the process. Review project results by asking questions like did we do what we said we would in terms of meeting cost, schedule, and quality goals? What were the cost issues, feature issues, schedule issues? The template in this file contains data from an actual project. In this case, the project experienced a significant slip, but projects that went well overall should also get a lessons learned meeting. You can save off the file and create a blank version to use on your projects. Process points:

  • Have the project manager prepare project overview materials before the lessons learned meeting.
  • Make sure that all key cross-functional team members can attend the scheduled meeting. Many project insights come from issues with interaction between groups; a great deal of important knowledge can be revealed if you have all the core team members at the meeting.
  • Start the meeting with a brief overview of the project schedule. What were the planned completion dates for each phase of the project, and what really happened? Can the team identify and summarize why a particular phase end date slipped?
  • Hang flip chart paper on the walls or have ample whiteboard space available. Label some papers/whiteboard "Wins" (things that went well, practices the team would repeat) and others "Challenges" (things that did not go well, project issues or failure points).
  • Have the team members brainstorm Wins and Challenges, and record them on the walls. If you have some team members who are not that likely to speak up, especially about issues, try round-robin brainstorming: go around the table or room and have each person come up with either a win or a challenge.
  • After the meeting, compose a report similar to the one in this template.
  • Identify actions for specific updates to your project management or product development methodology, or other processes or documents.
  • Publish results to other project managers and functional managers and team members, so that future projects can make use of the lessons learned.

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