Project Plans - Sample Plans

Lessons Learned From This Project

The lessons learned must be communicated in a consistent manner. In addition to the categorization and description of the lesson, it is important to state what the impact was and provide a recommendation for project managers to consider on future projects.

The following chart lists the lessons learned for a sample project. These lessons are categorized by project knowledge area and descriptions, impacts, and recommendations are provided for consideration on similar future new construction projects. It is important to note that not only failures or shortcomings are included but successes as well.


Issue Name




Procurement Management

Contract Requirements

The PM was not fully engaged in the contract process.

All requirements were not included in initial contract award. A contract modification was required which added a week to project.

PM must be fully engaged in all contract processes. This must be communicated to both PM and contract personnel.

Human Resources Management

Award Plan

There was no plan for providing awards and recognition to team members.

Toward the end of the project morale was low among the project team. There was increased conflict and team members were asking to leave the project.

The PM should institute and communicate an awards/recognition program for every project.

Scope Management

Scope Creep

Stakeholders continuously tried adding to the project scope throughout the project lifecycle.

The PM did not have a plan for addressing scope creep and allowed some requirements to be added until the sponsor stopped it. Overall project delay of 3 weeks was the result.

The PM must have an approval process for any proposed scope changes and communicate this process to all stakeholders.

Quality Management

Building Material

A process for determining acceptable building material quality was planned into the project.

This allowed the project team to work with the contractors to smoothly ensure all materials were of acceptable quality and avoided any re-work and delays associated with substandard material.

Always plan quality standards and allowances into the project plan. This helps avoid delays and cost overruns.

Risk Management

Zoning Approval

A risk was identified that there may be delays in receiving approval from county zoning board. This was a success since it was identified early and planned.

Impact was minimal because the PM included potential zoning delays into the project schedule.

Always consider external impacts on the project cost and schedule. This must be continuous throughout the project lifecycle.

Lessons Learned Knowledge Base/Database

The Lesson Learned Knowledge Base contains historical information from previous projects. It is part of the organizational project assets and provides a valuable source of information to be used by similar projects in the future. All project lessons learned and other historical information need to be transferred to this knowledge/database in order to provide one centralized repository for ease of use. This should also include information on issues and risks as well as techniques that worked well which can be applied to future projects. Most lessons learned knowledge/databases contain large amounts of information, so it is important that there is a system for cataloging this information.

The lessons learned for the Project will be contained in the organizational lessons learned knowledge base maintained by the project management office (PMO). This information will be cataloged under the project's year (20xx) and the type of project (New Construction) for future reference. This information will be valuable for any project manager assigned to a new construction project in the future.

Lessons Learned From Previous Projects

The lessons learned document might also state which historical lessons learned were used on this project. This information not only shows the value of the documentation of such lessons, but it also shows which lessons are consistently applied by other similar projects. It is important to reference not only what the lesson was but from which project it was associated with.

The Project utilizes several lessons learned from past projects:

  1. The addition of a risk associated with planning cost and schedule based on external dependencies (i.e. zoning approvals) was determined during the planning process by consulting the lessons learned from the Building #3 expansion project from 20xx.
  2. The planning of acceptable quality standards was based on lessons learned from the Startup Site Construction Project of 20xx. By planning for quality standards the project team was able to avoid schedule and cost overruns by clearly communicating acceptable quality standards to all contractors involved with the project.

Process Improvement Recommendations

It is important that once lessons learned are collected and documented that the organization approves and implement any process improvements identified. It is important for organizations to strive for continuous improvement and this portion of the lessons learned process is an integral step.

As indicated in the lessons learned chart above, the Project did not have a process for reviewing and approving requested changes in requirements or project scope. Not only is this a lesson learned for similar future projects; but the organization must ensure that all project managers are aware of the need for this process to be included in the planning of all future projects. Therefore, it is recommended that prior to work beginning on any new project, the project manager must brief the project sponsor on the process for requesting and approving changes to project scope.