A lessons learned register is a document in which 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.
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 for 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 in to 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 the tool 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 organisations to apply existing knowledge. Secondly, it promotes an atmosphere of learning thereby enabling organisations to create new knowledge base.
Project Management Lessons Learned Register
The lessons learned register is an output of Manage Project Knowledge Process. In fact it is also one of the inputs to this process. Project team members should record lessons through out project execution. Waiting to document the lessons towards the closing of a project results in loss of information.
On completion of project activities it is a good practice to archive lessons learned register for use in future projects. This archive forms Lessons Learned Repository for use in future similar projects. Such learnings repository should be easily accessible to each and every one in the organisation.
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 application of knowledge at a later date.
Lessons Learned Register Contents
The following list enumerates contents of lessons learned register.
Project Information In Lessons Learned Register
- Project Details
- Team member details
Project Achievements In Lessons Learned Register
- Major project achievements
- Factors that contributed to project success
- How well did the project meet its success criteria
Project Challenges In Lessons Learned Register
- Major project challenges.
- Steps implemented to overcome challenges.
- Problems faced during various project phases
- Opportunities that the project created
- Accuracy of business case and financial analysis.
- Recommendations to future projects
- Project scope variances.
- Corrective and preventive actions taken by the project team to rectify scope variances.
- Learnings specific to project requirement collection process.
- Variances in 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 accuracy of cost estimates of future projects.
- Variances in quality requirements.
- Corrective and preventive actions 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 lessons learnt 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 process either have lessons learnt register as input or output. 26 out of 30 processes have lessons learnt register as both input and output
The lessons learnt register is not an input to but is an output of the following 3 processes.
- Estimate Activity Resources
- Acquire Resources
- Plan Procurement Management
The lessons learnt 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 register in project management.
Also read: Lessons Learned Benefits and Importance
To sum up documenting lessons and applying them in future projects should be integral part of organisations business process. Further, organisations should ensure that lessons learned register is accessible to all. It should also support easy recording and retrieval of project knowledge. Moreover, use of lessons learned register should also facilitate application of contextual knowledge in future projects. Moreover, organisations should ensure that while documenting lessons the context around the knowledge is also understood. Creating an atmosphere of trust and motivation enhances sharing project lessons learned.