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The Importance of Lessons Learned in Project Management (#9 in the series PMP Exam Themes – The Perspective You Need To Develop To Be Prepared)
By Brian Denis Egan, B.Sc, M.Sc., M.B.A., PMP – Global Knowledge Course Director

In PMI’s project management heaven, organizations do everything possible to make sure that they learn from experience. They improve at project management with each completed project.

Within the project life cycle, closing processes accomplish two objectives. One is administrative closure, which is ensuring that all legal and administrative details have been taken care of. The second is creating a project archive, which ensures that the organization benefits from experience.

The project archive is a compilation of all project records including: contracts; estimated numbers; correspondence; and the executed plan. It is the corporate memory of a project.

Lessons learned becomes part of the project archive. Lessons learned is the term PMI uses to refer to the specific records prepared to analyze what went right and what went wrong. Lessons learned are recorded throughout the project, at the end of each phase, and at the end of the project. Sometimes referred to as a ‘post mortem’, they are a critical aspect of helping organizations to learn.

This means that in project management heaven you are rarely starting a project from scratch. There is always corporate experience to draw on that will help in the planning and execution of a project.

Focusing on corporate learning is beneficial to the organization. It is the reason why project management offices (PMOs) are becoming increasingly popular as repositories of experience and best practices within organizations.

About the Author

Brian Denis Egan is CEO of a manufacturing company (Book Box Company) and a management consultant. He has written three professional development manuals and numerous white papers on aspects of management science. Since 2000, Brian has been a part-time instructor for Global Knowledge within the Management product line.

This article was originally published in Global Knowledge’s Business Brief e-newsletter. Global Knowledge delivers comprehensive hands-on project management, business process, and professional skills training. Visit our online Knowledge Center at for free white papers, webinars, and more.

© Copyright 2008, Global Knowledge. All rights reserved.

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