Lessons Learned

The lessons-learned document is a document that captures the good and bad things that happened in the project. It should also contain a recommendation for how to avoid or minimize the bad things and enhance the good things. The purpose of the document is to serve other project managers working on future projects. The lessons-learned documents are an excellent starting place for risk identification. Databases can be constructed to classify and store lessons-learned data to simplify the lookup process.

Some companies feel so strongly about the use of this document that their project managers are required to read the lessons learned on relevant projects before they can get approval of the project charter. Project managers are not allowed to close out a project until the lessons-learned document is completed and accepted.

The lessons-learned document is supported by issue logs. An issue log is a collection of objections from the stakeholders. Issues are items that do not necessarily become activities in the project but must be answered to keep the stakeholders satisfied. Each issue must be possible to resolve, have a person in charge of it, and have a due date for resolution.

Probably the single most important thing in project management is communications. It is said that if good communications exist in a project, the team will be motivated and the project will succeed in spite of problems that might kill another project. It is therefore essential that project managers have a good understanding of communications.

It is generally agreed among project managers that communications skills are the most important skills that a project manager can have. These skills are considered to be more important than organization skills, team building skills, and leadership skills, and they are certainly considered more important for project managers than technical skills (Figure 6-1). It is often said that if a project manager has good communications skills and no other skills at all, the project team will get the project completed successfully in spite of the project manager.

According to the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge:

Communications management in projects is the process required to ensure timely and appropriate generation, collection, dissemination, storage, and ultimately disposition of project information.

Figure 6-1. The importance of communications management (survey of project managers).

Which of the following do you consider important project management skills?

Communication skills

84%

Organization skills

75%

Team building skills

72%

Leadership skills

68%

Technological skills

48%

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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