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Lessons Learned: How To Increase Their Impact
My recent survey asked how transferable Lessons Learned are between projects.
The follow-up (you can see that once you’ve taken part in the survey) imparted my thoughts and summarised some of the responses I received. Some of the comments didn’t quite fit into the survey format, including those from PMO Leader and fellow Flashmobber John McIntyre of Ticketmaster, who said:
I’ve always found Lessons Learned to be something that is good in theory, but that seldom has any practical application. Attempting to condense the learnings of a project down to a few lines in a lessons log, or (dare I say it) database only serves to sanitise the lesson to the extent that the learning is inevitably lost.
And why for the love of all things holy do we only do lessons reviews at the end of projects? Agile has it right here by advocating regular retrospectives where lessons are picked up and resolved continuously. I agree that the lesson could become dry and distant, and the real-life consequences of “getting it wrong” diluted. So what would be better? Back to John: