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How To Run A Project Lessons Learned Meeting

To run a Project Lessons Learned Meeting, you need to prepare an agenda in advance, create a conducive environment for open communication, gather insights and feedback from all team members, document these findings systematically, and generate an action plan for future improvements.

A Project Lessons Learned Meeting is a gathering that takes place at the end of a project or phase to reflect on the overall process and outcomes. It involves bringing together key stakeholders, team members, and project managers to discuss and document the lessons learned during the project. The purpose of this meeting is to identify what worked well, what didn’t work, and what could be improved for future projects. The outcomes of this meeting are typically used to update project management processes and best practices, and can help organizations avoid repeating mistakes and improve overall project performance.

What is the purpose of a Project Lessons Learned Meeting?

Running a project lessons learned meeting as a leader serves the purpose of reflecting on the project’s successes, failures, and areas for improvement. It allows the team to share their experiences, learn from mistakes, and identify best practices. This promotes continuous learning and ensures that future projects can be executed more efficiently and effectively.

How To Run A Project Lessons Learned Meeting: Step-By-Step


Step 1: Meeting Preparation

During this step, clearly define the purpose and agenda of the meeting. Invite key project team members, emphasizing that the goal is to enhance future performance and learning, rather than finding fault.

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Step 2: Documentation Collection

Gather all project documents, including plans, timelines, risk registers, change logs, and communication records. Use these to evaluate successes and failures during discussions.

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Step 3: Individual Reflection

Before the meeting, encourage attendees to reflect on their project experience, urging them to identify key successes and challenges. This will help foster a more personal and insightful discussion during the meeting.


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Step 4: Setting Ground Rules

Create a conducive atmosphere for open dialogue by fostering mutual respect and refraining from allocating blame during the meeting. The primary objective should be comprehending project events and finding solutions collectively.

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Step 5: Guided Problem Identification

Use open-ended questions to encourage the team to share their thoughts and experiences, fostering a robust discussion about the challenges and problems faced in the project.

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Step 6: Success Recognition

Highlighting the wins and successes achieved by the team during the project is essential in boosting morale and recognizing their hard work. It inspires team members, creates a sense of accomplishment, and encourages them to continue performing at their best.

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Step 7: Solution Generation

By facilitating brainstorming sessions and encouraging open communication, the team can collectively come up with innovative solutions. Implementing these solutions will foster continuous improvement and prevent the team from encountering similar challenges in their future endeavors.

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Step 8: Lessons Documentation

Create a comprehensive record of all discussions, including shared experiences, solutions, and positive aspects from the meeting. This document serves as an invaluable resource for similar projects in the future.

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Step 9: Action Plan Development

Develop a plan to prevent future problems or replicate successful outcomes by outlining specific actions. Assign responsibility and set deadlines for each action taken.

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Step 10: Communication

Lessons learned should be effectively shared with the relevant stakeholders to promote awareness, understanding, and application. Various communication methods such as reports, presentations, and informal conversations can be employed for this purpose.

Questions to ask as the leader of the meeting

1. What were the project objectives, and were they achieved? – This question helps in evaluating the success of the project and the extent to which the team accomplished its goals.

2. What challenges did the team face during the project? – By identifying the obstacles encountered, the leader can gain insights into the potential areas for improvement and learn from the team’s experience.

3. Were there any unforeseen circumstances that affected the project? – Understanding the unexpected factors that impacted the project helps leaders prepare for similar situations in the future.

4. Did the project stay within the allocated budget and timeline? – This question assesses the project’s financial management and timeliness, highlighting any areas for improvement in resource allocation and planning.

5. How effective was the communication within the team and with stakeholders? – Good communication is critical for project success, so evaluating its effectiveness can help identify communication gaps or areas that need improvement.

6. Were the roles and responsibilities clearly defined and understood? – Clear division of responsibilities is essential for a smooth project flow, so it’s important to address any confusion or ambiguity in the team’s roles.

7. What were the key lessons learned from this project? – This question promotes a culture of continuous learning by reflecting on the project’s outcomes and identifying valuable insights for future projects.

8. What were the project’s strengths and weaknesses? – Recognizing both the positive and negative aspects of the project can provide valuable lessons and contribute to future success.

9. How well did the team collaborate and work together? – Assessing the team’s collaboration helps determine the effectiveness of teamwork and identify areas in need of improvement.

10. What improvements or changes would you recommend for future projects? – By acknowledging areas that require improvement, the leader can implement better strategies in future projects and avoid repeating the same mistakes.

Note: These questions are not exhaustive, but they cover essential aspects to evaluate and improve project performance during a project-lessons-learned meeting.

As a leader, preparing a project lessons learned meeting agenda requires careful consideration. Begin by identifying key areas for discussion, such as project successes, challenges, and areas for improvement. Prioritize topics according to their significance and allocate sufficient time for each. Invite relevant team members to share their insights and experiences. Lastly, set actionable goals based on the lessons learned to ensure continuous improvement in future projects.

How To Prepare For A Project Lessons Learned Meeting
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During a project’s lessons learned meeting, it is crucial to discuss various topics to ensure a thorough analysis. These topics should include project objectives, scope, time management, communication strategies, team dynamics, risk management, and overall project performance. By discussing these areas, teams can identify successes, challenges, and opportunities for improvement, ultimately enhancing future project outcomes.

See Our Project Lessons Learned Meeting Template
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Software tools to facilitate a Project Lessons Learned Meeting

Software can greatly assist leaders in running project lessons learned meetings by providing a centralized platform to track and analyze data. It allows for efficient collaboration, real-time updates, and easy access to historical project information. With automated reporting and smart data visualization, software enables leaders to gain valuable insights, identify trends, and make informed decisions for future projects.

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Popular Questions

What is the purpose of a 'Project Lessons Learned Meeting'?

The primary purpose of a ‘Project Lessons Learned Meeting’ is to discuss and document successes and failures during a project, to understand what worked and didn’t work, and to apply these learnings for future projects. It aids continuous improvement within the team or organization.

Who should attend a 'Project Lessons Learned Meeting'?

The project team, project manager, and any key stakeholders should attend the ‘Project Lessons Learned Meeting’. Including everyone, from team members to leadership, ensures comprehensive insight into the project’s successes and challenges.

What should be discussed during a 'Project Lessons Learned Meeting'?

The meeting should discuss the entirety of the project, from the planning phase to execution, and even after-sales service, if applicable. Topics may include project objectives, schedule adherence, cost management, customer satisfaction, use of resources, communication effectiveness, and any other notable factors that influenced project outcomes.

When is the best time to hold a 'Project Lessons Learned Meeting'?

Ideally, a ‘Project Lessons Learned Meeting’ should be held shortly after project completion. However, it can also be beneficial to hold smaller such meetings after major milestones are met to capture insights as the project progresses.

How should a 'Project Lessons Learned Meeting' be approached to ensure positive engagement and participation?

It’s essential to approach this meeting with a positive attitude and stress the intent to learn and improve instead of playing a blame game. All participants should be encouraged to provide honest, constructive feedback and should be reassured that their input is valuable and appreciated.