The Lessons Learned Handbook

1st Edition

Practical Approaches to Learning from Experience

Authors: Nick Milton
Paperback ISBN: 9781843345879
eBook ISBN: 9781780631929
Imprint: Chandos Publishing
Published Date: 30th June 2010
Page Count: 206
Tax/VAT will be calculated at check-out
Compatible Not compatible
VitalSource PC, Mac, iPhone & iPad Amazon Kindle eReader
ePub & PDF Apple & PC desktop. Mobile devices (Apple & Android) Amazon Kindle eReader
Mobi Amazon Kindle eReader Anything else

Institutional Access


The phrase “lessons learned” is such a common one, yet people struggle with developing effective lessons learned approaches. The Lessons Learned Handbook is written for the project manager, quality manager or senior manager trying to put in place a system for learning from experience, or looking to improve the system they have. Based on experience of successful and unsuccessful systems, the author recognises the need to convert learning into action. For this to happen, there needs to be a series of key steps, which the book guides the reader through. The book provides practical guidance to learning from experience, illustrated with case histories from the author, and from contributors from industry and the public sector.

Key Features

  • The book is a practitioner-level guide to the design and the mechanics of lessons learned processes
  • Takes a holistic approach, tracking lessons from identification to reapplication
  • Makes the case for the assignment of actions for learning


Professionals in knowledge management, organizational learning, quality management, and performance improvement

Table of Contents

List of figures and tables



Chapter 1: Introduction – learning lessons

Learning as a basic instinct

Learning in organisations

Lessons learned systems in organisations

How well do they work?

The value of learning lessons

Chapter 2: Elements of a lesson learning system

Lesson learning approaches in the 15th century

What is a ‘lesson learned’?

The steps in learning a lesson

Closing the learning loop

Trial and error, or trial and success?

Survey results

Chapter 3: Lessons learned approaches

Formal collect systems

Informal collect systems

Formal connect systems

Informal connect systems

A blended approach

Chapter 4: Principles of lesson identification

When to identify lessons?

The principles of lesson identification

Aiming for the ‘quality lesson’

Examples of poor lessons


Stories and lessons

Self-identification of lessons versus lesson identification processes

The questioning process – the metaphor of the tree

Roles and accountabilities in lesson identification

Chapter 5: Processes of lessons identified

Post-project reviews or retrospects

After action reviews

Individual learning interviews

Learning histories

Evaluations and assessments

Incident investigation

Chapter 6: Writing down the lessons

Each lesson stands alone

The lesson needs to be easy to follow and well structured

How much context?

Who is the audience?


Quality assurance and validation

Lessons must lead to action

Chapter 7: Taking action

Will there always be an action?

What sort of actions are needed?

How do you decide the action?

Who assigns the action?


No. of pages:
© Chandos Publishing 2010
Chandos Publishing
eBook ISBN:
Paperback ISBN:

About the Author

Nick Milton

Dr Nick Milton is a director and co-founder of Knoco Ltd - a Knowledge Management consultancy comprised of seasoned knowledge management practitioners, mentors, and coaches. Knoco Ltd has been delivering successful and sustained Knowledge Management implementation to clients since 1999.

Affiliations and Expertise

Knoco Ltd, UK


The book is very practical and contains lots of advice, justified, how to perform each of the steps suggested in the process of lessons learned, Knowledge Management and Organizational Learning
Valuable case histories of real-life events pepper the chapters, which systematically outline and summarise all the key steps and alternatives in the process in a clear, easy-to-read manner, Australian Academic and Research Libraries