Closing

Lessons Learned Summary

Lessons learned are compiled throughout the project or at specific intervals, such as at the end of a life cycle phase. These are recorded in the lessons learned register. The lessons learned summary compiles and organizes those things that the project team did that worked very well and should be passed along to other project teams, and identifies those things that should be improved for future project work. The summary should include information on risks, issues, procurements, quality defects, and any areas of poor or outstanding performance. Information that can be documented includes:

  • Project performance analysis
    • Requirements
    • Scope
    • Schedule
    • Cost
    • Quality
    • Physical resources
    • Team resources
    • Communication
    • Reporting
    • Risk management
    • Procurement management
    • Stakeholder management
    • Process improvement
    • Product-specific information
  • Information on specific risks
  • Quality defects
  • Vendor management
  • Areas of exceptional performance
  • Areas for improvement

This information is saved, along with the lessons learned register, in a lessons learned repository. Repositories can be as simple as a lessons learned binder, or they can be a searchable database, or any- thing in between. The purpose is to improve performance on the current project (if done during the project) and future projects. Use the information from your project to tailor the form to best meet your needs. The lessons learned summary supports process 4.7 Close Project or Phase in the PMBOK® Guide – Sixth Edition. It is developed at the close of a phase for long projects and at the close of the project for shorter projects.

Tailoring Tips

Consider the following tips to help tailor the lessons learned summary to meet your needs:

  • Add, combine, or eliminate rows as needed to capture the important aspects of your
  • Consider including a section on change management, as that can sometimes be a challenging aspect of projects to manage.
  • You may want to include a section on phase management if you are doing the summary at the end of the
  • Integration management is an important aspect for projects that are part of a program or for projects that have multiple organizations working on one project.
  • If your project used a new development approach, such as a blended predictive and adaptive (agile) approach, consider adding some relevant lessons learned.

Alignment

The lessons learned summary should be aligned and consistent with the following documents:

  • Issue register
  • Risk register
  • Decision log
  • Lessons learned register
  • Retrospectives
Document element  Description 
Project Performance What Worked Well What Can be Improved
Requirements definition and management List any practices or incidents that were effective in defining and managing requirements. List any practices or incidents that can be improved in defining and managing requirements.
Scope definition and management List any practices or incidents that were effective in defining and managing scope. List any practices or incidents that can be improved in defining and managing scope.
Schedule development and control List any practices or incidents that were effective in developing and controlling the schedule. List any practices or incidents that can be improved in developing and controlling the schedule.
Cost estimating and control List any practices or incidents that were effective in developing estimates and controlling costs. List any practices or incidents that can be improved in developing estimates and con- trolling costs.
Quality planning and control List any practices or incidents that were effective in planning, managing, and controlling quality. List any practices or incidents that can be improved in planning, managing, and controlling quality. Specific defects are addressed elsewhere.
Physical resource planning and control List any practices or incidents that were effective in planning, acquiring, and manag- ing physical resources. List any practices or incidents that can be improved in planning, acquiring, and manag- ing physical resources.
Team planning, development, and performance List any practices or incidents that were effective in working with team members and developing and managing the team. List any practices or incidents that can be improved in working with team members and developing and managing the team.
Communications management List any practices or incidents that were effective in planning and distributing information. List any practices or incidents that can be improved in planning and distributing information.
Reporting List any practices or incidents that were effective in reporting project performance. List any practices or incidents that can be improved in reporting project performance.
Risk management List any practices or incidents that were effective in the risk management process. Specific risks are addressed elsewhere. List any practices or incidents that can be improved in the risk management process. Specific risks are addressed elsewhere.
Procurement planning and management List any practices or incidents that were effective in planning, conducting, and administering contracts. List any practices or incidents that can be improved in planning, conducting, and administering contracts.
Stakeholder engagement List any practices or incidents that were effective in engaging stakeholders. List any practices or incidents that can be improved in engaging stakeholders.
Process improvement information List any processes that were developed that should be continued. List any processes that should be changed or discontinued.
Product-specific information List any practices or incidents that were effective in delivering the specific product, service, or result. List any practices or incidents that can be improved in delivering the specific product, service, or result.
Other List any other practices or incidents that were effective, such as change control, configuration management, etc. List any other practices or incidents that can be improved, such as change control, configuration management, etc.
Risks and issues Risk or issue description Identify risks or issues that occurred that should be considered to improve organiza- tional learning.
  Response Describe the response and its effectiveness.
  Comments Provide any additional information needed to improve future project performance.
Quality defects Defect description Describe quality defects that should be considered to improve organizational effectiveness.
  Resolution Describe how the defects were resolved.
  Comments Indicate what should be done to improve future project performance.
Vendor management Vendor List the vendor(s).
  Issue Describe any issues, claims, or disputes that occurred.
  Resolution Describe the outcome or resolution.
  Comments Indicate what should be done to improve future vendor management performance.
Other Areas of exceptional performance Identify areas of exceptional performance that can be passed on to other teams.
  Areas for improvement Identify areas that can be improved on for future performance.

 

Lessons Learned Summary