Whether an information management project is a success or failure, one of the things that can be done to aid in future projects is a “Lessons Learned” session. Joseph Flahiff has written an article for TechTarget entitled, “Project management lessons learned shouldn’t be limited to postmortems” where he states that the agile methodology of lessons learned is more effective then then traditional project management lesson learned sessions.

One of his points from the article is that presenting lessons learned at the end of a project is that many people don’t remember everything they learned throughout the course of the project.

Traditional lessons learned are held when the project is complete, presumably so that the team does not make these same mistakes on future projects. The problem with this approach is most people can’t remember what happened two weeks ago, much less what happened six months or two years ago. Trying to dredge up useful lessons learned months or years ago is nearly impossible. Additionally, as noted above, if the lessons learned are specific to a completed project, there is nothing to do with the information: No one can learn from it, and nothing can be done with the information to improve future projects.

With a lean or agile approach to lessons learned instead of one session at the end of the project a session can be held every two to four weeks and that presents the following advantages:

  • It is much easier to remember what went well and what needed improvement. It is also much easier to make changes over a short time period than a long one.
  • The sessions are held mid-project so the team that identified the items can act upon them in the context in which they have relevance.
  • Because another session will be held in a couple of weeks, the team is able to inspect the results of the actions they took to rectify a problem and adopt a new solution if the last one didn’t fix the problem.

In the article there are two other examples and I am hoping this whets your appetite to click on over to the article to read the rest.