Exploring trends and developments in project management today

Learning the Lessons

Question 20: Have you looked at the lessons learned from your project?

Man holding up one finger

21 Ways to Excel at Project Management

Good Practice: Every project has the potential to help you run future projects more efficiently. Assess the project whether it was a great-success, total failure or anywhere between. Concentrate on the big, important lessons from the project, the ones that will have a significant impact-on your future projects.

In his article, Lessons Learned: Why Don't we Learn From Them? Derry Simmel, board member of PMI's PMO SIG, identifies two common problems preventing-us-learning valuable lessons from past projects:

  1. We think the lessons don't apply to us.
  2. We want to get things done.

The sad truth is that these lessons learned are useful. That time spent in doing the work better is time well-spent. That getting it right the first time is cheaper and easier than doing it now and fixing it later, Derry says.

History has a strange way of repeating itself. If we don't take time to learn the lessons of the past, and-also act on them, we will continue to commit the same mistakes again-and-again. Don't think it won't happen to you, it will!

Common Mistakes

  • Being too busy to evaluate projects when they have finished.
  • Moving on to your next project before reviewing the last.
  • Failing to learn lessons from past projects.
  • Not making lessons learned available to other people in the organisation.

Warning Sign! Making the same mistakes time-and-again.