Step 6 – Publish the results

The lessons learned should be turned into actions for process improvements. It can be expected that a considerable amount of information will be gathered during the interviews and the debriefing workshop.

The project team should nominate a leadership team which will summarise all the findings (e.g. in form of an “Open letter to Project Teams”). It is crucial that the members of this team not only know the events that affected the schedule, deliverable quality, and/or resources but also know why the events happened. So this team is able to drill down to the root causes of events that determined or affected the schedule, deliverables, and/or resources.

The audience for the letter is management, project team and the other project teams in the organisation.

Such an open letter could be made up in four parts:

  • Project description: A brief project overview – this should be taken from the Project Definition Document.
  • What was good: A summary delineating the positive findings identified in the debriefing workshop (e.g. infrastructure improvements, process changes, etc.).
  • What went wrong: A summary of the three worst factors that impeded the team’s ability to meet a goal.
  • Area for improvement: A prescription for improvement. In the debriefing workshop there is typically one key issue or problem identified, the one thing that must be fixed before another project is started. It provides a clear and precise problem description so that everyone will be able to observe if and when it is truly fixed.

To aim to ensure that the organisation profits from the lessons learned here are a few general suggestions:

  • The results of the debriefing meetings should be stored in a central repository accessible to everyone in the organisation.
  • Categorise the lessons learned by functional area or by process they affect. On the next project each item should be assigned to a specific person to monitor. He should report back to the leadership team whether or not it is a risk for the new project, and if so, how the risk will be addressed.
  • Each lesson learned is assigned to a person in the organisation who will be held responsible for investigating an implementing a strategy. Ultimately, no changes will occur in the organisation unless someone is responsible.