Lessons Learned or Lessons Learnt are experiences distilled from a project that should be actively taken into account in future projects. Lessons learned can be applied to every aspect of our everyday life. In life, we are faced daily with tough challenges and choices to make which we learn lessons from. The North American Space Agency defines lessons learned as “knowledge or understanding gained by experience”.
In project management, lessons learned cannot be over emphasized. The lessons learned document is a document where team members share all the lessons they learn over the course of a project. As a project manager, it is important to hold a “Lessons learned” session at the end of the project. This section focuses on identifying and documenting ideas and experiences that promoted project success/failure. This document helps future project performance by helping reduce the occurrence of the same mistakes that occurred on previous project.
Life itself can be considered as a project. Life as a project begins when we are born and it ends, when we die. Lessons learned can be applied to our everyday life. We learn useful lessons in life right from our childhood to our adulthood. When we take serious the lessons we learn as we progress in life, it will go a long way to help us structure our future and not ending up doing the same mistakes we did earlier on in life over and over again.
When lessons learned are accorded the most importance it deserves, it goes a long way in helping us executing future projects by helping the project manager and the project team bring on board important ideas and information that help previous projects succeed or fail.