Goal: Review final project information

History gives us the best indicator of future trends. The end of a project is an opportunity to create a history of your project's successes and failures and to share this information with your stakeholders. A lessons learned exercise helps you collect best practices and project data that you can share through reports and views. You can also reuse your data for future projects by saving your file as a template. These steps can affect the success of future projects.

Tip: This article is part of a series of articles within the Project Map that describe a broad set of project management activities. We call these activities "goals" because they are organized around the project management life cycle: Build a plan, track and manage a project, and close a project.

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person reviewing final project information

number 1 Review lessons learned    Who wants to relive the mistakes of the past? Lessons learned and best practices describe what kind of project data that you should gather and how you should gather it so that you can learn from past projects.

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A lessons-learned exercise documents how the project progressed and best practices by using information gathered from reports, discussions, or meetings. It includes information about a project's successes and failures, and can be used for a final team meeting, training on future projects, or recurring projects.

Examining lessons learned provides an opportunity to answer questions such as:

  • Was the project mission completed?

  • Was the work done on time, within budget, and according to specifications?

  • What can we do to improve future projects?

  • Were the stakeholders satisfied?

A lessons-learned exercise also provides information for administrative closure and contract closeout.

Administrative closure includes verifying scope; archiving or maintaining project information; and producing summary information such as cost, work, and tasks. Contract closeout makes sure that the contractors' final work is completed and delivered and that billings or invoices are completed. At contract closeout, it's important to review schedules, changes, and contractor performance.

  • To make sure that the lessons-learned document is always associated with a specific project file, you can link the two.

  • You can also upload the lessons-learned document to a project workspace site in Microsoft Office Project Web Access.

Number 2 Publish end-of-project information    Closing a project involves summarizing and communicating project information, analyzing project effectiveness, and archiving project data.

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