Projects generate vast amounts of data beyond the regular retrospectives and lessons learned. As the project progresses, collect and index this data.
Project data and documents contain information such as:
- Plans and changes to plans (e.g., budget management plan, schedules)
- Performance of the project and people involved (e.g., the metrics)
- Value and benefits the project provided
- Problems faced and decisions made (e.g., retrospectives and lessons learned, RAID log)
- Value-added ideas for the future of the product, service, or other result (these can lead to new projects)
- Memorable things people said or achieved
This level of historical data may not only help in future projects and learning. It may boost your career with valuable information you might otherwise forget.
There is also no need to wait for a lessons learned session to begin taking notes. As things come to your attention, jot them down. You can share them in future lessons learned sessions to start the brainstorming, or put them into immediate action when possible.
You might consider using the collection strategy one organization I worked with used. When a project started, a copy of the methodology and all templates available was sent to the project manager in installable form. It placed all the pieces in a directory structure on their hard drive. As documents were created and modified, they resided in these folders.
At the end of the project, the entire directory was copied and sent back to headquarters. There, a team pulled apart the documents and put them in a knowledge management database. This provided the ability to find interesting or unique documents quickly. If, for example, a project manager wanted to see past budgets for certain types of projects, they could be located quickly. Requirements documents, designs, schedules ... all artifacts were available for all projects and indexed in multiple ways.
If you need some help organizing your project information with project management templates, be sure to visit our downloads page..
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