The measure of a successful team is how well they learn from their mistakes. Every project hits a few bumps along the way, but they are opportunities to learn and do better next time. This is why many teams use a lessons learned template.
This article will spell out the benefits of using a lessons learned template and provide some example templates to get you started. Plus, we’ll present monday.com’s interactive lessons learned template built for all kinds of professionals. Before we continue, let’s clarify what we mean by a lessons learned template.
What is a lessons learned template?
During post-project review meetings, teams usually discuss lessons learned. A lessons learned template can document this feedback.
A lessons learned template is a document or presentation that helps team members review positive and negative experiences of a completed project and identify any key learnings. This opens up opportunities for improvement on future projects.
The broad areas to cover in a lessons learned template are:
- Everyday management
- Technical elements of the project
- Overall project management
This way, you get a comprehensive summary of how people worked together, reacted to setbacks, and executed tasks. Now that we know what a lessons learned template is all about, let’s look at some of its many perks.
Why use a lessons learned template?
From acknowledging mistakes to making team members feel heard, a lessons learned template lets you:
Avoid repeating mistakes
There’s nothing more frustrating than making the same mistakes over and over again. Unless a project manager makes a conscious effort, your team may lose out on valuable insight by not learning from their experiences.Insights gleaned from a reflective exercise are only useful if you can document and retrieve them for future projects.
A lessons learned template is an excellent tool to get the knowledge gained down on paper. This way, you can make good use of what you’ve learned and avoid the same mistakes. It also encourages knowledge sharing within your team so that everyone can learn from each other.
Identify strengths and weaknesses
If there are aspects of your projects that always seem to take more effort than others, a lessons learned template can help. These templates often contain a section for challenges the project team experienced during the project. After all, you first need to be aware of a problem before you can address it. By collecting feedback from your team, you can identify common threads and pinpoint which links in the chain are causing the setbacks.
Similarly, if there are team members or departments that always do a stellar job or get things done ahead of schedule, you should find out why. A lessons learned template can identify what they are doing that the rest of the team is not. It then becomes easier to spread productive habits around the entire team.
Make team members feel heard
74% of employees report that they’re more effective at their job when they feel heard.
Collaborating on a lessons learned document is a great opportunity for your team to vocalize what they struggle with and what makes life easier for them. Giving your team the space to voice their opinions will make them feel heard and appreciated. This kind of company culture is sure to boost employee morale and, ultimately, productivity.
What are some examples of a lessons learned template?
Let’s consider a real-life, practical example of a lessons learned template.
Say you’re supplying a large corporation with office furniture, including installation. You’ve planned out every detail, including stock, logistics, labor, timelines, and so forth. During installation, however, some things go poorly while others go smoothly.
It turns out that the office chairs you ordered from the supplier came in the wrong size, a delay. Once installation begins, your team works at a slower pace than anticipated.
Everything else goes according to plan, and despite the hiccups, you manage to complete the installation a couple of weeks behind schedule. So, how do you put a lessons learned template help into action? Let’s break it down into steps.
1. Share it with the right people
First, assemble representatives from all involved parties — your labor team, management team, and stakeholders. Give them a copy of the following lessons learned template and ask them to fill it in honestly.
2. Solicit feedback
From your labor team, you glean that nobody was there to inspect the delivery of office chairs when they arrived. There was only a security guard on duty who signed off on the goods. You also learn that the onsite manager arrived at least half an hour late to the site every day.
From your drivers, you learn that the vehicles were in good shape and had plenty of space to transport your goods and equipment. From your managers, you learn the chain of communication between your headquarters and the installation site was flawed. This feedback gives you several key insights.
3. Turn feedback into insights
First, your onsite manager was negligent in their time management and communication. Second, you learn that you have no qualified staff to oversee and inspect deliveries. Third, you learn that the logistics company you used provides good quality vehicles and that you can trust them for future projects.
A Work OS, like monday.com makes it easy to request, record, and analyze feedback, it into actionable improvements for future projects. Next time you’re faced with a similar project, you can access this feedback from anywhere and use it to guide your actions.
4. Analyzing the lessons
Going back to our example — when considering how you can do things better, you now know that you need to check in with your onsite manager to make sure they arrive on schedule and relay communications accurately. You appoint a staff member to oversee deliveries and keep the details of the logistics company for future use. By analyzing the lessons learned, you have eliminated weak links and fortified strong ones.
monday.com’s lessons learned template
monday.com Work OS is a no-code/low-code platform that allows businesses of all sizes to work without limits using a variety of pre-built templates, automations, real-time insights, and other features. We’ve created a comprehensive, highly-customizable, and interactive lessons learned template to make managing the lessons learned process quick and intuitive.
Accessible from anywhere
When asking yourself, “what could have been done better?” simply access your monday.com lessons learned template from anywhere. You can watch in real-time as you consolidate your insights and make them available for analysis and presentation.
Our template provides space for reflection, documentation, consolidation, and storage of ideas that you can retrieve later. With the wisdom of past projects readily accessible, your business is in a better position to learn and grow.
Easily collect feedback with forms
With monday.com, we don’t just give you a template. Using our Work OS, you can create a custom-made, shareable form to easily solicit feedback from your team. Simply send the link to your form, and voila! Each response will populate directly onto the respective board for you to analyze.
Harness the power of automation
monday.com’s lessons learned template saves time and resources by automating processes that used to waste valuable hours — no more sifting through endless stacks of forms and trying to piece them all together yourself. monday.com lets you sit back and watch as it categorizes, assigns or organizes information in a presentable format from the word go.
Beyond those we’ve already mentioned, there are myriad templates that can help manage your workflow and complete successful projects. For extra inspiration, we’ve included some additional monday.com templates below.
The project schedule template maps out your project timeline by phase. It has space to include all the necessary details like schedule, budget, resources, risks, and task status.
Action plan template
The action plan template breaks down a project into actions and their subsequent details. For each action, you can assign a person responsible, a priority level, a start and end date, and any other relevant notes.
Employee review template
When you need a standardized way to assess employee performance, the employee review template makes it easy. It includes sections for characteristics such as initiative, group work, client relations, technical skills, attendance, and consistency.
Similar to the employee review template, the self-assessment template asks the employee to indicate how they view their own performance. Based on this reflection, they can identify areas to improve.
FAQs about a lessons learned template
How do you create a lessons learned document?
To create a thorough lessons learned document, you need a lessons learned template. monday.com draws on years of collective workplace solutions experience to create a robust lessons learned template. We make it simple to assess task success by guiding you through the pros, cons, and suggestions for every aspect of a completed project.
What do you write in lessons learned?
All lessons learned documents should cover the following:
- What went wrong during the project?
- What went well?
- What could have been done better?
- What valuable lessons can be taken away?
monday.com knows the value of asking yourself these questions. We apply the same principles of thought to our lessons learned template so you can make the most out of any negative experiences.
How do you introduce lessons learned?
Any insight gleaned from a lessons learned template should be documented and stored. We recommend appointing a project manager to present the lessons learned during the planning phase of your next project.
How do you share lessons learned?
Any lessons learned should be communicated with the whole company in a respectful and team-oriented way. Remember, our lessons learned template is designed to advance the interests of everyone in the business, from admin staff and technicians to senior management. Plus, it’s easy to grant and control access so you can view the lessons learned and add commentary in real-time.