Technology Helps with Project Lessons Learned


Conducting lessons learned and project reviews has been a practice that many organizations have used over the years to help their next projects be successful. It's a continuous cycle of retrieving and assessing your project information. As the project manager, you should call a meeting and discuss any issues or tasks that went wrong and what could have been done to improve the project. The improvements should be incorporated into the processes of the next project, which typically have a better outcome. Then that project will have its own challenges that will also need to be addressed. And so it goes. If you aren't doing some type of project review or lessons learned, you will most likely repeat actions that have caused the project failures, budget overruns, scope creep, inadequate stakeholder involvement, technology mishaps and other problems that plague your projects. Yet some project managers find excuses not to host these valuable meetings. One such excuse is a geographically dispersed team. There's no need for a dinosaur mentality to achieve a project review. Use today's advanced technology to your advantage when conducting a lessons learned meeting:
  • Conduct a lessons learned session in the same way as you would hold a virtual team meeting. Emphasize the goal of targeting improvements. Use a virtual whiteboard to list pre-determined questions or to show a timeline of how the project progressed. Allow the team members to post their version of the events that could be improved upon in the next project.
  • Consider posting a social media page to capture comments. This venue would allow you to reach stakeholders in their habitat, possibly presenting more candid comments.
  • Send out a survey. Then collect and analyze the results. Gathering the data this way could lead to more impartial responses and a scientific alignment of the priorities that should be addressed.
Traditional methods for conducting lessons learned will always prove beneficial as well. Bring in an outside group or consultant to assess projects and provide recommendations. As the lead and manager of an important project delivery, designate time to look back so that history does not repeat itself. Do you use technology or traditional methods in your lessons learned?
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