The Basics of Project Evaluation and Lessons Learned  book cover
2nd Edition

The Basics of Project Evaluation and Lessons Learned

ISBN 9780429255564
Published February 6, 2018 by Productivity Press
214 Pages

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Book Description

For some organizations, Lessons Learned (LL) is an informal process of discussing and recording project experiences during the closure phase. For others, LL is a formal process that occurs at the end of each phase of a project. Regardless of when they are performed, if you are a project team member, chances are you will soon be required to present an evaluation of your project using Lessons Learned.

Presenting new information that updates the award-winning first edition, The Basics of Project Evaluation and Lessons Learned, Second Edition supplies practical guidance on conducting project Lessons Learned. The first edition won the Project Management Institute's (PMI®) David I. Cleland Project Management Literature Award. Following in the footsteps of its popular predecessor, this second edition provides an easy-to-follow, systematic approach to conducting Lessons Learned on a project.

  • Updated to align with the PMBOK® Guide, Fifth Edition
  • Includes three new chapters—PRINCE2®, Agile Retrospectives, and Knowledge Transfer— in response to information requests from readers of the first edition from around the world
  • Enhanced with valuable new resources in the Project Evaluation Resource Kit (PERK) found on the downloadable resources, including a fully functional MS Access Lessons Learned Database

The research in this book is based on four years of doctoral dissertation research and is supported by renowned experts in the field of evaluation. The concepts covered are applicable to all types of organizations that implement projects and need to conduct Lessons Learned.

Providing tools and techniques for active engagement, the text is founded on the principles of conducting project evaluations as recommended by the Project Management Institute (PMI), the world’s leading not-for-profit membership association for the project management profession, and PRINCE2® (Project in Controlled Environments version 2), a major governing body of project management.

Simplifying and formalizing the methodology of conducting LL in projects, the contents of this book will help organizations, large and small, more effectively implement processes and systems to support effective LL. The text is supported by a Project Evaluation Resource Kit (PERK), which is found in the downloadable resources.

Table of Contents

An Overview of Project Management
What Is a Project?
Why Project Management?
Project Management Process Groups
Project Management Knowledge Areas
Boundaries of Project Management
Who Is a Project Manager?
Programs versus Portfolios
What Is Lessons Learned?
Who Is a Lessons Learned Project Team Member?
     What Project Knowledge Is Required?
     What Competencies Are Essential?
     Team Development Process
Organizational Structures
Organizational Cultures
Who Are Project Stakeholders?
Working with Project Stakeholders
Use the STYLE Framework to Discover Stakeholder Style
Use the TYPE Grid to Classify Stakeholders
Resolving Stakeholder Neutral Opinions
Project Management Office
Lessons That Apply to This Chapter
Suggested Reading

Foundations of Evaluation
Origins of Evaluation
Lessons Learned in Project Management
Classifications of Evaluation
     Is Project Evaluation Complex?
     What Is Component Evaluation?
     What Is Outcome Evaluation?
Lessons Learned Is Project Learning
     How Can Lessons Learned Be Used?
Is Intraproject Learning Feasible?
What Investment Is Required to Conduct Lessons Learned?
     What Is Appreciative Inquiry?
     Descriptive versus Evaluative Knowledge
     Tacit, Explicit, and Embedded Knowledge
     Determining Competence and Defining Competencies
     What Is the DIKUD Continuum?
Lessons That Apply to This Chapter
Suggested Reading

The Lessons Learned Process
The Need to Evaluate Projects
Lessons and the Adult Learning Theory
     Individual, Group, and Organizational Learning
     Journaling to Capture Learning
Determining Needs and Wants
Lessons Learned Process
Lessons That Apply to This Chapter
Suggested Reading

Lessons Learned Support Systems and Repositories
What Is a Lessons Learned Support System?
Why Use a Lessons Learned Support System?
What Is a Lessons Learned Repository?
Computer-Based Repositories versus Paper-Based Systems
Digital versus Electronic
     Features of a Computer-Based Repository
     Functions of an Electronic Repository
     Benefits of an Electronic Repository
Records Management
Knowledge Management
Lessons That Apply to This Chapter
Suggested Reading

Best Practices and Benchmarking
Communities of Interest
Communities of Development
Communities of Practice
What Are Best Practices?
What Is Benchmarking?
Comparative versus Competitive Analysis
Choosing a Measurement Approach
Good Business Practices and Bulletins
Lessons That Apply to This Chapter
Suggested Reading

Case Studies
Case Studies
     Center for Army Lessons Learned
     Eli Lilly
     Hurricane Katrina
     Kentucky Transportation System
     Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems
     University of Massachusetts
Lessons That Apply to This Chapter
Suggested Reading

Lessons Learned Scenarios in Real Life
Scenario Analysis
     Customer Relationship Management
Facilities Management
Professional Association Management
Developing Role Plays Based on Scenarios
     Advanced Role Playing
Lessons That Apply to This Chapter
Suggested Reading

Capacity Building through Evaluation
What Is Capacity Building?
High-Quality Lessons Learned
Approaches to Conducting Evaluations
Popularized Evaluation Models
Research Methods
Measurement Practices
Lessons That Apply to This Chapter
Suggested Reading

Project Evaluation Management
Project Evaluation Management
     Project Evaluation Plan
     Evaluation Reporting
     Good Documentation Practices versus Documentation Quality Standards
     Visualization and Presentation
     Project Management Network Diagrams
     Gantt Charts
PEM as a New Knowledge Area?
     Collaborative Evaluation
     Microevaluation versus Macroevaluation
     Key Evaluation Checklist
Lessons That Apply to This Chapter
Suggested Reading

Agile Retrospectives
What Are Agile Retrospectives?
A Brief History of Agile Project Management
Important Agile Project Management Retrospective Concepts to Understand
Newly Identified Resources for Agile Project Management and Retrospectives
Lessons That Apply to This Chapter

PRINCE2: Lessons Log and Lessons Report
What Is PRINCE2?
Using the Lessons Log in PRINCE2
Using the Lessons Report in PRINCE2
Lessons That Apply to This Chapter

Knowledge Transfer
What Is Knowledge Transfer?
How Is Knowledge Management Related to Knowledge Transfer?
Who Is Responsible for Knowledge Transfer?
Where Should Knowledge Be Transferred?
When Should Knowledge Transfer Occur?
Why Is Protecting Knowledge Transfer Important?
Which Barriers to Knowledge Transfer Should Be Addressed?
Plus/Minus/Delta (+/–/Δ)
     What are Pluses?
     What are Minuses?
     What are Deltas?
Lessons That Apply to This Chapter
Suggested Reading

     Terms and Definitions
     Knowledge Management
     Lessons Learned
     Project Management
     Records Management
     Research Methods
     Measurement Practices
     Supply Chain Management
     Visualization and Presentation
     Concluding Thoughts


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Willis H. Thomas, PhD, PMP, CPT, has been involved in training and development, organizational effectiveness, and quality operations in the pharmaceutical, telecommunications, and information technology industries. As an employee, he has worked for large companies such as Xerox, Ameritech, Brinks, and Pfizer. As a consultant, he has serviced companies across many different industries around the globe, specifically in the areas of project management and evaluation.

He maintains a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI) and a Certified Performance Technologist (CPT) certification from the International Society of Performance Improvement (ISPI).

Willis is the author of a book published in November of 2011 entitled The Basics of Project Evaluation and Lessons Learned, New York, NY: Productivity Press. His book was recognized as Best of the Best publications by the Project Management Institute (PMI) in October of 2012 and received the coveted Cleland award at the PMI Global Conference in Vancouver, Canada, on October 20, 2012. He is also the author of The Basics of Achieving Professional Certification: Enhancing Your Credentials, published in November of 2013. In this book, ASTD was recognized as a best practice.

He has been a guest speaker for numerous educational institutions (i.e., Western Michigan University and University of South Florida) and professional associations (i.e., AEA, ASTD, PMI, APICS, and IVT). He has authored a variety of articles on project management and evaluation in recognized journals and publications. In the area of project management, he has taught many courses worldwide for the International Institute for Learning.

Willis holds a PhD in Evaluation from Western Michigan University. The title of his dissertation was "A Metaevaluation of Lessons Learned Repositories: Evaluative Knowledge Management Practices in Project Management." In line with his extensive research, he has developed a comprehensive website on project management that focuses specifically on lessons learned at <>.

Current Professional Memberships: