January 2000

Management Guidelines

Implement a lessons learned process that works

An effective program facilitates fact-finding so that corrective actions can be applied throughout a project's life cycle

Terrell, M. S., Duke Engineering & Services

The causes of variations, the reasoning behind the corrective action chosen, and other types of lessons learned should be documented so that they become part of the historical database for both this project and other projects of the performing organization." So suggests a section in the Project Management Institute's Book Of Knowledge.1 Too often however, if lessons learned are collected, it is done at the end of a project and only documented in the project closeout report. This approach minimizes the amount of data collected and limits distribution of what little data has been collected. Furthermore, it minimizes the project team's ability to benefit from their findings. The result

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