I'm preparing a Lessons Learned paper and I wonder what such paper should contain. I found this post: http://www.ehow.com/how_8014106_write-lessons-learned-report.html, some of the points listed there are sensible.

Are there any other point I should include in a lessons learned paper?

Are there any other tips that can make the paper useful for other PMs?

1 Answer 1


PRINCE2 has a strong emphasis on lessons learned and provides templates for both lessons logs and lesson reports. Another site with useful templates is here. I think both of these differ in tone from the example you cite. Your's almost seems to conflate some aspects of a close-out report with lessons learned, especially the first and last steps. While lessons learned is typically a component of a close-out report I've never seen it necessary to support lessons learned with documentation and statistics.

Some other things that I have found helpful:

  • Don't wait until the end of the project. Document your lessons learned on an ongoing basis. It is amazing how much you will forget over a period of weeks/months.
  • Track successes as well as shortcomings. It is easy to have a list of things that went wrong, but you should also document what helped the project go more smoothly so that what works can be repeated in the future.
  • Document corrective actions. It is all fine and good to identify issues, but you need to include some kind of plan to be able to address each issue identified. This doesn't have to be hugely detailed.
  • Think about how you want to catalog your lessons. You need to do this because if these are really going to be lessons learned rather than lessons identified you need to review and act on them in the future, and if you can't find relevant lessons easily the exercise loses it's value. I find it better to document the lessons in terms of project phases because it helps me focus in on what can be done better at a given point in a project.
  • Have a home for your lessons that everyone can visit. Share your lessons learned with others and they will share theirs with you. There is no sense in having anyone in your organization reinvent the wheel if it can be avoided.
  • Would suggest aiming for root cause analysis. However, this may give the author bad reputation among the culpable parties... Jan 18, 2013 at 13:41

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