Free Lessons Learned Templates for Project Management (Excel / Word)

free lessons learned template 6

The lessons learned template is used by the project manager to document and analyze the lessons they have learned throughout the duration of a project. These lessons can be applied later when needed on future projects. The world’s most profitable projects have their ups and downs and likewise ups these downs have also a great influence.

What is a lessons learned template?

A lessons learned is a document used by team members to review positive and negative experiences of a project which is completed. They can also use it to determine any key learnings. It allows you to improve your future projects. It may include the following;

  • Everyday management
  • Communication
  • Technical components of the project
  • Overall project management

Why lessons learned are essential?

It has become a basic part of any project to write down the lessons learned in a lessons learned document. These lessons learn serve a number of purposes. During the closeout process of the project, the complete documentation of a lesson learned format is commonly done. However, you should record every lesson learned throughout the duration of the project. You also have to make sure that all of the information should be documented in an accurate and timely manner.

Here are the most important reasons that why you should make your own lessons learned;

Useful and essential tool:

Lessons learned for each project can serve as an important tool especially when you get assigned identical project. It is also a useful tool that explains the things that went wrong during the project. It also includes suggestions to avoid a similar occurrence in the future. Furthermore, the document also describes the positive aspects of project and how identical projects can benefit from such information.

Make sure inclusion:

You should also send this document to the project management office (PMO) and the project sponsor in order to include it in the archives and assets of the organization. If your organization doesn’t have PMO then there is also another means of communication that makes sure the inclusion of all project managers.

Takes the lessons learned from the project:

Lessons learned template is an official document where you gather the lessons learned in a project. You can also share this document with other project managers assigned on identical projects in the future. In addition, lessons learned identifies the problems that occurred, suggestions to solve such problems, and how to avoid them in the future.

Explains everything that went well in the project:

They must include all the things that went well in the project. Also, provide reasons that why for the other project managers to capitalize on the actions taken.

Lessons learned in project management:

Lessons learned have become an informal discussion while looking at projects in retrospect. After the completion of a project in a meeting, it usually occurs along with key representatives from the client’s and the contractor’s side is in attendance.

With some organization, the meeting can be more insightful. Everyone involved in the project during the meeting for lessons learned should share their following perspectives;

  • Their thoughts on the project
  • What they would like to change
  • The things they’ve learned
  • What to improve

Lessons learned register:

All projects should have lessons learned register to track the knowledge required during the project for use in the current project. The main purpose of this document is to collect lessons learned across the organization. This information is also helpful for other team members to go through and pinpoint relevant lessons.

Additionally, you can share lessons learned register through a shared drive or in the cloud. To motivate collaboration, you can also customize its format. You can adapt any values or categories in the register according to your needs.

How to create lessons learned template?

Lessons learned are used to communicate knowledge in a more effective way. It ensures that helpful information gets included in work processes, activities, and planning. Let us discuss step-by-step for making a lessons learned template;

Define your project:

At first, it is important for lessons learned to get identified. You should establish the process and the team through you collect the lessons. Also, it is important to establish the following;

  • The purpose of the lessons
  • The need of the lessons
  • The persons for the product’s use
  • The members of the project’s team

Moreover, you should select the individual who have certain knowledge or expertise of the project and other important skills in terms of writing and communications. The members should be in agreement with the following;

  • Product format
  • Strategies for data collection
  • Methods of analysis
  • Strategies for dissemination
  • Other activities the project may require

Collect data:

You have to collect information through unstructured or structured processes such as project critiques, meetings, and written forms. You can collect data for your lessons learned from many sources. On the basis of both positive and negative experiences, you can base these lessons. Positive experiences refer to achieved organizational goals and negatives are that resulted in undesirable results.

Verification and synthesis:

To make sure lessons applicability and accuracy, the submitted lessons should get verified. The process includes subject matter and domain experts. You should conduct reviews to find out whether or not the lesson has;

  • Relevance with other projects.
  • Unique qualities in a specific department.
  • Applicable features to the whole organization.


In the lessons learned document, for the purpose of future dissemination and sharing, storage is about the incorporation of lessons into a shared database. You should store this information in such a way that it permits users to find and determine lessons using keywords.


Dissemination is the final and most important element that is involved in the dissemination of lessons learned. Usually, the lessons learned get used and divided by those who could benefit from them. This element includes the revision of the work process, routine distribution, and training.

How to use the lessons learned template for conducting meetings?

During and after the project, to collect team and personal recommendations, you should make use of a lessons learned template. You should conduct a quick meeting with your team along with your lessons learned document due to following reasons;

  • Learn from past mistakes so that you can’t commit them in the future again.
  • If you want to identify the best practices and share this knowledge in the future with the other projects.
  • In order to develop trust with your team members and stockholders.

Hence, meetings with lessons learned document is a venue for the people to share their feelings of anger and frustration. Often, it is the impression that you feel while people become too negative. However, project reviews via lessons learned should also pay attention to share constructive and helpful feedback to improve. Here is a standard process for a lessons learned meeting;

  • You will have members who gather in small groups while running a meeting with the entire team to present their findings at the end of the meeting.
  • If you have a few attendees in a lessons learned meeting then without the need for presentations, you can discuss everybody’s conclusion.

People might feel hesitant to give candid feedback in these meetings which is the main challenge. You can consider planning some points for discussion in advance in case you feel that attendees have that tendency to feel hesitant in opening up.


In conclusion, the lessons learned template demonstrates the things that went wrong during the project. It also includes recommendations to avoid an identical occurrence in the future. The document also states the positive side of the project that went well. Additionally, you can use it during and after the project to gather the team and personal recommendations.

Faqs (Frequently Asked Questions)

How to introduce lessons learned?

During the planning phase of your next project, you should appoint a project manager to introduce the lessons learned.

How to share lessons learned?

You should share the lessons learned with the entire company in a respectful and team-oriented way.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating / 5. Vote count:

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

As you found this post useful...

Follow us on social media!

You Might Also Like