Maximize the effectiveness of your project management skills by using lessons learned templates. A lessons learned document is a simple breakdown, written by the project manager, of every potential and existing problem that has been found within a project.
An effective lessons learned report will also have proposed solutions to these problems. Now, the reason why we’ll be focusing on a template, is so that one won’t be starting from scratch with every report they write and it’s done right.
Creating Your Lesson Learned Template Steps
- Identify – Though it may sound obvious do not discount the importance of this step. Identify what valuable lesson have been learned throughout the project and why they might be valuable to remember for the future. This is where the survey is truly so important because it is through the surveys that the greatest lesson are usually gleamed.
- Document – After the lessons learned have been identified, it’s important to report them to project stakeholders. One should be sure to tailor the report to the audience that will be receiving it, but nevertheless the value of identifying the learned lessons is only appreciated through the documentation. This is part of why one creates the lesson learned example.
- Analyze – once everyone knows what lessons have been learned it’s important to figure out how much value they hold. It’s one thing to learn a lesson but if you can’t understand why it was important not much has been learned from it. Analyzing the lessons makes one better appreciate the hard work gets put in to trying to complete a project. This is where the heuristic value lies.
- Store – This is one of the easier steps. Make sure that the lessons that you’ve learned and that you have now reported on or stored in a place where they can be found and called upon in future. It’s important to know where these documents are because of all the time and effort to go into creating them.
- Retrieve – Like we touched on in the last step, as long as documents are stored correctly, and in a place and manner that is easy to attain, one is able to use them so as to not repeat mistakes. So, this step is really just retrieving the work that you’ve already done so that you can get better and better as you continue working on projects.
Google Docs Lesson Learned Templates
We converted these templates from Word because Google Docs are collaborative compared to having local version and sharing via email. Google docs you are sharing links making it quicker and easier to complete the lessons learned templates.
Top Tips for Creating Lessons Learned Documents
- Work with the stakeholders. They want to see the project succeed as much as you do if not more. So, be sure to include them and use their valuable insights to make sure the project takes steps forward at every point.
- Be sure to not only use, but appreciate the lessons learned log. This will help lessen the workload when it comes down to writing your analysis. If you keep up with this log throughout the project you won’t have to dig through papers that you probably won’t remember writing, and instead you’ll be able to appreciate what struggles were being encountered.
- Find out how you best communicate your thoughts and ideas to others. This way you’ll be able to effectively capture the lessons learned during the project and you’ll be able to make it make sense to others.
- Just like in the last step appreciate your communication styles so that not only in your report will you be able to share your thoughts, but you’ll be able to share your lessons learned. Whether this is in your report or in a one on one basis between colleagues you’ll be able to help others appreciate the lessons learned.
How to Create a Lessons Learned Template
To begin your lessons learned template there are a few things that you will need to keep in mind:The best way to begin is by analyzing past lesson learned document to understand what I was required and get one in the mindset of analyzing the failures and the accomplishments as seen in the project.
By seeing what has been done successfully one is better able to assess the task at hand.
All documents that represent the major ups and downs throughout the project should be collected and used during the lessons learned analysis. It’s easy to forget the little things when looking at the end of a project, but it’s a little things that make a big changes and affect the outcomes.
A project survey will need to be completed by everyone working on the project so the better insight can be had into the inner workings of the day-to-day tasks completed in order to provide results. This survey should ask questions about all different parts of the project so that a better understanding can be had by all.
You’ll need the change log, or the record of every change requested, made, and suggested for the project in question. This contributes insight to where things started out, and what changes could be made, could not be made, and potentially should’ve been made.
It’s important to note that though they are similar, the lessons learned report is different from the project closure document. The project closure document is an overall assessment of the project and, as stated in the name, can only be completed once the project has ended. The lessons learned analysis takes place to show what was done correctly, what was done incorrectly and seeks to provide a heuristic benefit.
Lessons Learned Templates in Google Sheets
When accessing a Google Sheet to edit you need to go: File / Make a Copy. This will only be available of you are logged into Google.
Lessons Learned Templates in PDF
This is a platform one should use if using an existing template or lessons learned example. This is also a perfect platform to use when the analysis is fully completed and one wish is to share their findings with others, but while creating an analysis this might not be the easiest technology to use.
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Lessons Learned Template Online Software / Tools
Let us know what you thought of this article! If you found it helpful please reach out to us in the comment section and let us know! I’m glad that I was able to write this because I know when I was first faced total with the lessons learned document I was completely confused. Hope this was helpful if so please let us know