If lessons learned from projects are written down in documents that no one ever looks at again, this does little to help the organization not repeat mistakes or fail to exploit opportunities that are the subject of those lessons when future projects take place.

This is why it is so important for the project manager to take the initiative to institutionalize [i.e., archive] the lessons learned from a project, a process that should occur throughout the life cycle of a project. This involves taking some action to ensure that the organization is not dependent on the memories of individuals at the organizational strategy for retaining the knowledge. It involves making some change in the organization so that the lesson is embedded in it and cannot be avoided by future project teams.

For example, a procedure can be changed, a policy can be implemented, an additional authorization signature for some approval process can be required or one can be removed, a standardized schedule template for a particular type of project maintained by the PMO can be modified, or a reminder of some sort can become a routine part of the agenda of every address the CEO gives to the organization.

Identify a completed project where you were a participant, or one that you observed. If not applicable to you, search for a project on the Internet or the Library. What is a lesson that was learned by the project team as a result of this project? Was the lesson institutionalized [i.e., archived] in the organization? If so, how was it institutionalized and was the effort successful? If not, how could it have been institutionalized?

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