Most of the Project Teams that I work with outside of the military agree that they should maintain a “lessons learned” database and use those “lessons learned” on future projects. Of course, when I ask if their organizations actually collect, maintain and disseminate “lessons learned” from their projects, most of the time they admit that they really do not. I then ask if they as individuals actually maintain their own personal written “lessons learned” database. Only a few actually claim that they maintain their own personal notebook of “lessons learned”. Of course, this implies that the majority really do not maintain a personal notebook of “lessons learned”.

Here is a thought…while we cannot always control what the larger organization does or does not do, we can control what happens on our team(s). Try starting a “lessons learned” notebook. Get in the habit of reviewing your “lessons learned” weekly or at appropriate times during the project. You do not have to have a complicated or sophisticated system; a notebook will suffice. The key is to develop the habit of documenting your “lessons learned” and applying them to future projects. Once the habit is formed, we can look at ways of capturing the data across the enterprise; but first, we have to develop the habit.