Modeling Lessons Learned (Archived)

RT-123 Topic Summary
RT 123


This Topic has been superseded by RT-230

This research team focused on proving that there is value in managing organizational knowledge. Knowledge originates from the experiences of the elements of an organization and is retained in the form of corporate memory. Through their research, this team found that managing and organizing this knowledge can benefit the organization in the form of reduction of total project cost and/or reduction of project schedule.

Once they proved that there is value in managing the knowledge, they focused on developing a formal process for retention of that knowledge, which is called LLP (lessons learned process).  

There are three main components to a LLP:

  1. Collection – process of capturing information
  2. Analysis – process of organizing and evaluating information to facilitate its use
  3. Implementation – process by which information is transformed into knowledge and distributed to meet organizational goals 

There are factors that play a big role in the success of an LLP. In the key findings section below, we will discuss these factors and how they are important to the success of an LLP process.

Key Findings and Implementation Tools

1 : Organizational Culture

Culture plays a significant role in the success of a LLP. A learning organizational culture is a culture that strives to create an environment conducive to learning. A learning organization is one that continually challenges the assumptions used in making important decisions. Organizational learning is a process of detecting and correcting errors. Every individual of the organization is responsible for developing a culture suitable for an LLP. It was found that if the culture originates from top management, it is more effective. Here are the typical steps that can be followed to develop a learning organizational culture. (RS123-1, p. 1)

  1. Assess the present culture
  2. Eliminate barriers
  3. Set goals
  4. Get departmental buy-in
  5. Designate a champion
  6. Empower workers
  7. Allocate resources
Reference: (RS123-1)

2 : Lessons Learned Champion

The coordination of the LLP is important to the success of the LLP. As stated in Key Finding #1, designating a champion is important to create the proper culture to foster the LLP. The LLP will have increased success if the champion comes from upper management. The coordination is a continuous and on-going process and typically includes the following. (RS123-1, p. 14)

  • Providing organizational feedback on new input to the knowledge base and on any updates/modifications in the existing knowledge base
  • Soliciting nominations for recognition and/or reward
  • Benchmarking process effectiveness and goals
  • Identifying qualified facilitators
  • Developing LLP training curriculum
  • Soliciting organizational expertise to develop all decision making criteria
  • Developing communication vehicles such as newsletters, bulletin boards, etc.
  • Assessing the LLP
  • Developing position descriptions for LLP personnel (individuals and teams)
  • Preparing a schedule which identifies the need for on-going contribution
Reference: (RS123-1)

3 : Technology

Computer technology plays an integral part of an effective LLP. The technology can link all members of an organization across geographical and time barriers. It can create a database that is accessible to the entire enterprise. It provides a formal knowledge capture system that enables individuals to learn from the experiences of others and to analyze what they have learned themselves. A smart system can spot and flag trends. RT-123 developed a tool to meet these requirements called the Lessons Learned Wizard.
(RR123-11, p. 108)
Reference: (RR123-11)

4 : Implementation Tool #1

IR123-2, Lessons Learned Wizard

This software tool provides users with an easy reference guide to initiate a Lessons Learned Process. With this tool users may click on any step in the LLP to find attributes, suggestions, sample forms, or other essential elements. This tool will facilitate the starting, training and implementing of a new LLP.
Reference: (IR123-2)

Key Performance Indicators

Improved cost, Improved schedule

Research Publications

Modeling the Lessons Learned Process - RR123-11

Publication Date: 01/1998 Type: Research Report Pages: 278 Status: Archived Reference

Lessons Learned Wizard - IR123-2

Publication Date: 07/1997 Type: Implementation Resource Pages: 0 Status: Archived Tool

Modeling the Lessons Learned Process - RS123-1

Publication Date: 05/1997 Type: Research Summary Pages: 30 Status: Archived Supporting Product

Presentations from CII Events

Session - Effective Management Practices for Lessons Learned Programs

Publication Date: Presenter: Number of Slides: 61 Event Code: PIW1013