NPD Jargon Buster: Lessons Log

Capturing lessons learned is vital to successful project management, but it can be hard to do.

Capturing lessons learned is vital to successful project management, but it can be hard to do.

It’s easy to forget or gloss over lessons learned when you’re busy dealing with the day-to-day tasks of managing a project. And if you don’t capture them in a systematic way, they’re likely to get lost in the shuffle.

The Lessons Log is a powerful tool for capturing and organizing lessons learned. At Innovolo, we help you manage this important process so you can learn from your experience and improve your project management skills.

The Lessons Log is a tool for recording and organizing lessons learned so you can use them to improve future projects. Here are some tips for creating a Lessons Log:

1. Keep it official. First and foremost, a Lessons Log needs to be an official document. In many ways, it’s just as important as formal project documentation. So don’t write it on a napkin or in casual notes – only use the most professional form of your organization’s Lessons Log. Keep it simple; remember, simplicity is key! Try to keep it to one or two pages.

2. Be systematic. Like any project document, you should use some kind of format that’s consistent and logical, e.g., bullets, tables, etc. And remember, clarity is important; make sure your Lessons Log is clear and easy to follow.

3. Use lessons learned throughout the project. Don’t wait until the end of a project to capture your lessons learned. Throughout your project, as you identify and plan for success, it’s important to think about what could go wrong and how you can avoid or overcome those obstacles if they should arise.

4. Look ahead as well as back. Once you’ve completed a project using the Lessons Log, don’t just file it away. As you start planning your next project, consider how the lessons learned can benefit future projects. If appropriate, apply those lessons to upcoming projects.

5. Share with others. The best way to learn is by sharing what you’ve learned with others – including people who might not be involved in your project. A lessons log is also an opportunity to share knowledge that could benefit the whole organization.

6. Keep it alive! Once you’ve created a Lessons Log, don’t just file it away in your filing cabinet and forget about it. Consider updating the document every couple of months or so, adding new information as necessary.

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