In the PRINCE2 process model, we actively capture previous lessons during the Starting up a Project process. This seems to be the only explicit activity where we do this. Are there other moments where this is being repeated in PRINCE2, e.g. during the Initiating a Project or elsewhere? What I will like to know is whether PRINCE2 allows this to happen in other places?
Yes, this can happen at other instances as well!
Let's first review the Learn from Experience principle: the official manual (full title Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2) states:
PRINCE2 project teams learn from previous experience: lessons are sought, recorded and acted upon throughout the life of the project.
This learning from experience principle permeates the (PRINCE2) method:
- When starting a project, previous or similar projects should be review to see if lessons learned could be applied
- As the project progresses, it should continue to learn. Lessons should be included in all reports and reviews.
- As the project closes, it should pass on lessons.
(source: PRINCE2 manual, section 2.2)
Secondly, let's look specifically at the Capture previous lessons activity, that is part of the Starting up a Project (SU) process:
The idea here is that lessons might have been learned in other projects, programmes, at corporate level or even in other, external organizations about strenghts and weaknesses of specific processes, procedures, techniques, tools and so on.
So the purpose of this activity is to review lessons from these sources and identify which ones are also applicable to this project.
This is done for the first time during Starting up a Project process, as it can already have an influence on the other activities in this process, e.g. how we set up the project management team, or when preparing the (outline) Business Case etc.
Applying the philosophy of the learn from experience principle, it is obvious that this could be repeated when relevant.
And the PRINCE2 manual confirms this logic, as it states explicitly:
When moving from the general view in Starting up a Project to the detailed view in Initiating a Project and updated view in Managing a Stage boundary, it may be necessary to look beyond the Lessons Log, by repeating this activity, to capture any further releavant external lessons.
(source: PRINCE2 manual, section 12.4.2)
So yes, it can happen at other places as well.
For detailed questions like this one, the PRINCE2 manual is your best friend and should be the reference.
This is something I've been working on for a long time, learning during delivery. I've developed a PRINCE2 Health Check and maturity model that helps assess quality at each process/stage. It was so useful I'm now sharing free on line to PM's can use it an create lessons learnt along the way. i.e. as you suggest when you complete SU you can run the check. Please take a look here http://www.totalprogrammecontrol.com/