It is said that the more you learn, the less you know.
What is really happening is that the more we learn, the more we realize we have to learn.
Which is why every major project, initiative, client, and more deserves to end with a “Lessons Learned” review.
What Lessons Learned are not
A list of successes and failures.
I could have stopped at “A list”.
Lessons Learned are not a list. Of successes, failures, or anything else. If you are writing a checklist, you are doing it wrong
What Lessons Learned are
First, you tell a story. About what you did in this particular initiative. What actions did you take and what did you expect to happen as a result of those actions.
And what actually happened as a result of those actions.
Next: examine those “actual” outcomes. You want to understand how they occurred and why your expectations were incorrect. With this information, you can determine what you will change next time you confront this situation.
Lessons Learned are not about success or failure, but simply: why did something happen.
Don’t go into it thinking “good” or “bad”, but give each outcome the same considerations: why? how? what could have been different? what’s in it for the customer?
And, simply, learn from the lessons.