Baraka Leonard Mfilinge

Baraka Leonard Mfilinge

MEAL Specialist
United Republic of Tanzania

Dedicated and committed Program Officer, MEAL specialist with over 5 years of working experience. Proven track records and self-driven, God-fearing, moral and ethical informed, goal-oriented and quick learning-driven character with a high ability to work independently, in a team, and in diverse environments. Reliable personnel with a professional history of meeting the organization's goals and the desired results. Flexibility in accommodating and embracing new organizational culture and challenges to enhance the positive development of an organization. A professional who combines intrapersonal and strong interpersonal skills with extensive productive technical knowledge.

My contributions

  • How to define and identify lessons learned?

    • By accurately documenting the lessons learned during your project lifecycle, you can learn from your mistakes and share those findings with other project managers.

      There are five steps of lessons learned: Identify, Document, Analyze, Store, and Retrieve 

      What are lessons learned in project management? 
      You learn something new on every project, but a lessons learned session ensures you capture and codify that information to share it with other teams. When you conduct lessons learned and create a lessons learned report, you’re producing a document the entire project team can use to improve future projects. 

      Documented lessons learned can be passed on to other project managers running similar initiatives or used by team members who are getting started on similar projects. Sharing lessons learned between teams is a great way to prevent the same mistakes from happening. Not only can you learn from your project mistakes—with a lessons learned report, everyone else can learn from them, too. 

      You can capture lessons learned at any point during the project timeline. In fact, depending on the complexity of the project, you may want to conduct a lessons learned session at the end of each project management phase, in order to capture information when it’s still fresh. That way, you can evaluate what went well, what went wrong, and what you can learn from it. 

      The important thing is to capture the information and share it with everyone. No matter what you call it, aim to conduct at least one lessons learned session per project.

      5 steps to conduct a lessons learned.

      If you’re just getting started with lessons learned, use these five steps to ensure you’re accurately capturing, documenting, and sharing the project’s information in a way that everyone can access. 

      1. Identify

      This is where you identify lessons learned from the project to document in step two. The Identify phase is made up of three steps: 

      Step 1: Send lessons learned survey
      Immediately after the project is completed—or at the end of a significant project phase for larger initiatives—send a lessons learned survey to every project team member. This way, you’re capturing feedback while it’s still fresh in everyone’s mind. Then, aggregate that information to get a general picture of what everyone learned from the project. 

      The lessons learned survey is one of the most important parts of the lessons learned process. Below, we have a template you can use. This survey is typically general to any project, though you can adapt the questions to suit your project’s needs. 

      Step 2: Schedule the lessons learned session
      Before the lessons learned session, select a session facilitator. Ideally, find a facilitator who isn’t the project manager, so team members feel comfortable speaking freely. Ask the team lead or an adjacent team member to run the session. 

      After scheduling the lessons learned session, the facilitator shares any pre-reading information to make sure project team members are on this same page. This could include re-sharing project planning documentation like the project plan or project objectives. Depending on the complexity of the project, you could also share a timeline of the project and accomplishments. 

      Step 3: Conduct the lessons learned
      In addition to the lessons learned survey, host a live brainstorming session for all team members. This is a chance for team members to expand upon their lessons learned. In particular, there are three main questions to ask during the lessons learned brainstorming session: 

      What went right? 

      What went wrong? 

      What could be improved? 

      2. Document

      The main point of running a lessons learned session is to share these lessons with the entire team. Plan to create a detailed lessons learned report with all of the project information and discussion notes, as well as an executive summary of the lessons learned for relevant project stakeholders to review. 

      Format of a lessons learned report
      Executive summary

      Summary of findings

      Lessons learned survey(s)

      Recommendations in detail

      Create a project documentation template

      3. Analyze

      Analyze and apply the lessons learned so other teams and future projects can benefit from it. This is especially relevant if you’re conducting a lessons learned session mid-project. Analyze the information from the lessons learned survey in order to effectively improve your project for the upcoming phases. Alternatively, if you’re running a lessons learned at the end of a project, use the Analyze phase to glean insights and opportunities before beginning your next project. 

      4. Store

      Store the lessons learned in a central repository that everyone can access, like a project management tool. With a central source of truth, as project leads can access shared information to best prepare for their projects. 

      5. Retrieve 

      If you’re running a similar project, search for a lessons learned report from a past project to avoid making the same mistakes from a previous project. These reports should be shared in a central source of truth that all project managers can review before beginning the project planning process.