Skip to content

Communication Guidelines

Lessons Learned


Lessons learned are an informal conversation where you look at a project in retrospect. It is done after project completion,* usually conducted as a meeting involving the project team and key stakeholders ( may include clients as applicable). During the lessons learned meetings, everyone shares their perspective on what they thought about the project, what they would have changed, what they learned and what could have been done better.

*solicit feedback throughout the project, and not just to wait till the end. In project management, one has to respond quickly to issues, and want to improve processes to get optimum results. For retainers and time bound projects with more than 4 weeks timeline, this meeting can be conducted every 2 weeks to identify improvement areas.


Lessons learned meetings are performed for three reasons:

  1. To learn from mistakes and to avoid these mistakes in future projects.
  2. To gather best practices — that is smart ways of doing something — and to pass on this knowledge to other project leaders/teams.
  3. To build trust with all team members/stakeholders. Involving people in the process and giving them the opportunity to share their perspective will make them more supportive towards project management as well as future projects.

Watch out?

It should be clear that lessons learned meetings are NOT a forum for people to vent their anger.

How to conduct a Lessons Learned meeting:

Step 1- Welcome the Team

Start off by welcoming the team. Then move on to explaining the purpose of a lessons learned workshop. You should have gotten enough ideas from this article.

Step 2- Explain the Rules

Explain the rules to the attendees. Everybody is asked to give their feedback on the following questions:

  • What Went Well?
  • Would have been Even Better If?


  • Don’t constrain people on the questions. Let them tell you what they want to tell you.
  • Everybody can share their views openly.
  • There is no good or bad feedback. Any feedback is appreciated.
  • Avoid personal attacks or naming names. If somebody wants to complain about a specific individual, they can use the title instead, e.g. saying ‘the QA’ instead of John Doe.
  • Everymember of the team mandatorily identifies a set of items for self which can be done in a better way in future.

Step 3- Gather Feedback

Use the template provided below to gather/record feedback.

Right attitude for all members attending the meeting

  • Don’t dwell on past mistakes: Shift your focus away from whatever bad things have happened and focus instead on things you have learned (and the things that went well).
  • Be open to learn: Accept you may not know the best approach for everything. There may be better ways to plan or to conduct certain project tasks. If you’re willing to learn, you will become better. And that’s the key. Lack of willingness to introspect is a clear signal for failure in terms of project as well as an individual contributor.

Step 4- Identify action items and broadcast to the wider audience

The action items can be at individual level, team level, organization level. Once the action items are identified, share/broadcast to the wider audience (Project Management, QA, Tech Leads, Management) in the internal project closure emails.

In case of retainers, the lessons learned can be broadcasted on a regular frequency.

  • Use the below subject line while broadcasting the email with the wider audience:

Sub:[Internal]Lesson Learned: <Name of the project>

  • Add the identified actions in comment/consolidated sheet- Here

Lessons Learned Template

Respective Project Folder can be created in this folder - Client Projects>> _Retrospectives, where the lessons learned document can be stored.

Actions identified should be also captured in the consolidated sheet present in the Client Projects>> _Retrospectives path.