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The Post-Project Lessons Learned Session – Who and What
By Kathlika Thomas

Let’s expand on the “who” and the “what” of presenting your post-deployment analysis. First, the “who”: You’ll find that those who are most interested in attending a post-project lessons learned session will fall into three main categories: sponsors, project team members, and clients. The “what” is a little bit more complicated and often depends on your audience. That being the case, let’s highlight what sort of findings will most peak the interest of each of the three attendee groups.

  1. Executive sponsors are often most committed to the success of the project because they were responsible for obtaining a budget for the work. That being the case, discuss in detail with them the profitability of the project’s end results. Depending on how soon after you hold a project lessons learned meeting, you may be able to capture data on the value that your project has brought to your clients. For example,
    • Did your project improve data quality? If so, by what percentage?
    • Did your project reduce vendor staffing? If so, how much did it save the company?

    The key is to quantify your results to make it relevant to your sponsors.

  2. When soliciting and sharing project lessons learned with team members, be sure to discuss:

    • Project scope (reasonable vs. unrealistic)
    • How scheduling of project phases made their jobs easier or more difficult
    • The effectiveness of post-launch support plans

    Capturing their approval along with their concerns will show them you appreciate the work they put in to bring the project to a close.

    3) Clients and end users, like executive sponsors, will be interested to hear about the project’s profitability. In addition to that, they will likely be eager to share:

    • Their personal satisfaction on how the project was managed
    • The effectiveness of the communication plan before and during the product launch
    • How receptive you, the project manager or service provider, were to their business needs and functionality requests

    Drawing out honest feedback from clients is tough – if mistakes were made, it can be easy to begin playing the blame game; be sure to keep discussions useful and informative to maximize benefit for everyone involved.

I hope these tips help you generate ideas on how to make the project lessons learned sessions you hold relevant and useful to your team, clients, and sponsors. Remember, you will need their support for your next engagement so always emphasize the value they have brought to the project by including them in your project lessons learned discussions.

Kathlika Thomas has over a decade of business analysis and project management experience. She has roots at Accenture, one of the “Big Five” consulting firm and has managed numerous international projects. Kathlika has also developed a number of workshops and training programs related to business analysis, business intelligence and project management. You can read more from Kathlika at the IT Project Blog.

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