A lessons learned register is a document in which the project team records their valuable project experience. As a matter of fact, Project Management Body Of Knowledge (PMBOK) Sixth Edition has introduced a new process called “Manage Project Knowledge”. The Manage Project Knowledge process chiefly governs lessons learned in projects. The lessons-learned register is an important output of this process. Apart from other inputs, the lessons-learned register is also an input to this process.
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Lessons Learned Register Process
Manage Project knowledge is one of the process of Project Integration Management Knowledge Area. In fact this new process is part of the Executing Process Group and not Closing Process Group. Moreover, this new process further defines project knowledge as both explicit and tacit.
Explicit Project Knowledge
According to PMBOK 6th edition, explicit knowledge is one that can be expressed using words or pictures. Explicit knowledge is shareable but lacks context and is open to interpretations. Even though explicit knowledge is shareable but it cannot be applied easily. Hence lessons-learned register is a tool that helps project teams to record explicit knowledge gained while executing a project.
Tacit Project Knowledge
On the other hand, tacit knowledge is personal and something that is difficult to express. Examples of tacit knowledge include personal experience, beliefs, etc. Tacit knowledge has context built into it but it cannot be represented as hard facts. It resides in minds of people and is normally shared during social interactions. Hence, PMBOK advocates networking as one of the tools in this process.
Therefore, manage project knowledge process achieves to integrate both explicit and tacit knowledge. Further, it provides a platform to document and share hard facts using various tools.
Hence, the knowledge management process drives two purposes. Firstly it enables organizations to apply existing knowledge. Secondly, it promotes an atmosphere of learning thereby enabling organizations to create a new knowledge base.
Project Management Lessons Learned Register
The lessons-learned register is an output of the Manage Project Knowledge Process. In fact, it is also one of the inputs to this process. Project team members should record lessons throughout project execution. Waiting to document the lessons towards the closing of the project results in a loss of information.
On completion of project activities, it is a good practice to archive lessons learned for use in future projects. This archive forms the Lessons Learned Repository for use in future similar projects. Such a learning repository should be easily accessible to each and everyone in the organization.
As a bare minimum requirement, the project team should document project lessons before closing the project or a project phase. While documenting project learnings it is essential that the document also supports the application of knowledge at a later date.
Lessons Learned Register Contents
The following list enumerates the contents of the lessons-learned register.
Project Information In Lessons Learned
- Project Details
- Team member details
Project Achievements In Lessons Learned
- Major project achievements
- Factors that contributed to project success
- How well did the project meet its success criteria
Project Challenges In Lessons Learned
- Major project challenges.
- Steps implemented to overcome challenges.
- Problems faced during various project phases
- Opportunities that the project created
- Accuracy of the business case and financial analysis.
- Recommendations for future projects
- Project scope variances.
- Corrective and preventive actions taken by the project team to rectify scope variances.
- Learnings specific to the project requirement collection process.
- Variances in the project schedule.
- Corrective and preventive actions taken by the project team to rectify schedule variances.
- Learnings covering accuracy and completeness of activity lists, duration estimates, and project schedule.
- Cost Variances.
- Corrective and preventive actions taken by the project team to rectify these variances.
- Knowledge with respect to project cost estimates
- Steps to improve the accuracy of cost estimates of future projects.
- Variances in quality requirements.
- Corrective and preventive actions that were taken by the project team to rectify these variances.
- Knowledge gained in validating project deliverables.
- Issues faced with remedial actions while ensuring project quality.
- Learnings related to acquiring and managing project resources.
- Learnings with regards to challenges faced during project communications and methods to solve it.
- Risks that occurred on the project and Steps taken to mitigate project risks.
- Challenged encountered while implementing risk response plan.
- Effectiveness of risk response plan.
- Experience related to risk, issue, and change management processes.
- New risks that were not part of initial risk planning.
- Learnings concerning project contract management.
- Experience related to project suppliers and vendors to assist in future procurement activities.
- Information related to stakeholder engagement.
Lessons Learned Register Analysis Of Input And Output
The following table enumerates project management processes in which the lessons-learned register is either an input or an output. This table is based on The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) Sixth Edition.
|Sr. No.||Project Management Knowledge Area||Project Management Process Group||Project Management Process||Lessons Learned Register as Input||Lessons Learned Register as Output|
|1||Project Integration Management||Executing||Direct and Manage Project Work||Yes||Yes|
|2||Project Integration Management||Executing||Manage Project Knowledge||Yes||Yes|
|3||Project Integration Management||Monitoring and Controlling||Monitor and Control Project Work||Yes||Yes|
|4||Project Integration Management||Closing||Close Project or Phase||Yes||Yes|
|5||Project Scope Management||Planning||Collect Requirements||Yes||No|
|6||Project Scope Management||Monitoring and Controlling||Validate Scope||Yes||Yes|
|7||Project Scope Management||Monitoring and Controlling||Control Scope||Yes||Yes|
|8||Project Schedule Management||Planning||Estimate Activity Durations||Yes||Yes|
|9||Project Schedule Management||Planning||Develop Schedule||Yes||Yes|
|10||Project Schedule Management||Monitoring and Controlling||Control Schedule||Yes||Yes|
|11||Project Cost Management||Planning||Estimate Costs||Yes||Yes|
|12||Project Cost Management||Monitoring and Controlling||Control Costs||Yes||Yes|
|13||Project Quality Management||Executing||Manage Quality||Yes||Yes|
|14||Project Quality Management||Monitoring and Controlling||Control Quality||Yes||Yes|
|15||Project Resource Management||Planning||Estimate Activity Resources||No||Yes|
|16||Project Resource Management||Executing||Acquire Resources||No||Yes|
|17||Project Resource Management||Executing||Develop Team||Yes||Yes|
|18||Project Resource Management||Executing||Manage Team||Yes||Yes|
|19||Project Resource Management||Monitoring and Controlling||Control Resources||Yes||Yes|
|20||Project Communications Management||Executing||Manage Communications||Yes||Yes|
|21||Project Communications Management||Monitoring and Controlling||Monitor Communications||Yes||Yes|
|22||Project Risk Management||Planning||Identify Risks||Yes||Yes|
|23||Project Risk Management||Planning||Plan Risk Responses||Yes||Yes|
|24||Project Risk Management||Executing||Implement Risk Responses||Yes||Yes|
|25||Project Risk Management||Monitoring and Controlling||Monitor Risks||Yes||Yes|
|26||Project Procurement Management||Planning||Plan Procurement Management||No||Yes|
|27||Project Procurement Management||Executing||Conduct Procurements||Yes||Yes|
|28||Project Procurement Management||Monitoring and Controlling||Control Procurements||Yes||Yes|
|29||Project Stakeholder Management||Planning||Manage Stakeholder Engagement||Yes||Yes|
|30||Project Stakeholder Management||Monitoring and Controlling||Monitor Stakeholder Engagement||Yes||Yes|
30 out of 49 project management processes either have lessons-learned register as input or output. 26 out of 30 processes have lessons-learned register as both input and output
The lessons-learned register is not an input but is an output of the following 3 processes.
- Estimate Activity Resources
- Acquire Resources
- Plan Procurement Management
The lessons-learned register is an input to but does not create an output from the following process.
- Collect Requirements
As shown above, the table establishes the importance of lessons learned in project management.
Also read: Lessons Learned Benefits and Importance
To sum up, documenting lessons and applying them in future projects should be an integral part of the organization's business process. Further, organizations should ensure that the lessons-learned register is accessible to all. It should also support easy recording and retrieval of project knowledge. Moreover, the use of this register should also facilitate the application of contextual knowledge in future projects. Organizations should also ensure that while documenting lessons the context around the knowledge is also understood. Creating an atmosphere of trust and motivation enhances sharing of project lessons.