Lessons Learned

The term Lessons Learned (LL) refers to project learning, ways of knowing that have merit (quality), worth (value) or significance (importance), which has occurred through Reference, Observation, Participation or Experience (ROPE):
  • Reference: no involvement, i.e., communities of practice (COPs) or benchmarking
  • Observation: indirect involvement that involves sensing, i.e., hearing or seeing
  • Participation: direct involvement in an activity
  • Experience: tangible and intangible series of events that results in ways of knowing
LL is a form of evaluative knowledge (EK) and is closely linked to the discipline of knowledge management (KM). KM comprises a range of practices used in an organization to identify, adopt and manage insights and experiences.

Descriptive Knowledge (DK) purposes only to address general descriptions, i.e., the banana is yellow. Whereas, Evaluative Knowledge (EK) conveys not only is the banana yellow, but identifies other attributes of the fruit, such as smell, taste, and texture. EK further addresses the vitamins contained within the banana, fruit combinations using the banana, etc. Therefore, the preference for those involved in KM strategies is to utilize EK, and to ensure LL reflect the use of EK.

What the project team is trying to determine is:
  • What went right (R)
  • What went wrong (W)
  • What could have been done differently (D)
Another way to look at it is:
  • Went as planned
  • Not as planned
  • Could have used another option

The project team member's role is to determine the impact of "RWD". An Impact Assessment must be operationally defined in terms of severity, criticality, affect, etc.