How to Get Your Next Lessons Learned Meeting Right

Lessons learned (LL) is a term in project management that aims to analyze a process/task that was previously done in an organization and yielded a positive or negative outcome. 

When should you have the lessons learnt meeting?

It is important to have this meeting as soon as possible to not forget about the issues faced. The best time is to have it within the first two weeks of project completion or max a month after completing the project. Everyone who had worked on the project, including the sponsor, should be included in the meeting.

Why is it necessary to conduct a Lessons learnt meeting?

To analyze a certain situation and help the organization improve, lessons learned process should be conducted periodically during the projects’ life cycle. It is good practice to conduct a more detailed, in-depth lessons learnt meeting at the beginning and conclusion of a project.

The purpose of a Lessons Learned Meeting is for the project team to discuss different challenges that the team faced during the project. After the meeting is complete, the Project Manager should capture all the lessons learned in a document and publish it to a wide audience.

Learning from other people’s mistakes and implementing the conclusion from this mistake helps the organization as a whole to improve and grow. The outcome can be negative or positive. A good outcome of an LL is the best practice like–
Good Practices for Lessons Learned
  1. Ensure the meeting starts on time and finishes on time.
  2. Someone needs to take notes. It is recommended that the person taking notes is different from the person hosting the meeting.
  3. The motivation behind having this meeting is to improve, and we are humans. We do make mistakes – so no personal remarks.
  4. The decisions should always be focused on how we can improve – so keep it positive.
  5. No talking over when others are talking. Everyone needs to be given a chance to speak.
  6. The host of the meeting should be asking all the questions and write the responses on the whiteboard as the team gives their feedback.
  7. If you have anyone very senior joining, then make sure you understand their expectation.
  8. Time box questions and ensure that discussions do not go on a different tangent.
  9. Ask everyone to come prepared to the meeting with points they want to discuss. It is worth publishing the agenda beforehand.
  10. Phones, tablets, and laptops on silent.
  11. Always publish the agenda at least 3 days before the meeting.

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