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Lessons Learned Database using JIRA



I apologize if this has been discussed previously, but I couldn't find anything in my searches.

I would like to create a lessons learned register for projects. The LL should be tied to a project(s) but be able to search on different fields so a search can be done by someone who will running a similar project in the future.

My end result is for someone to understand the problems that another project manager might have run into while executing a project and avoid the same problem from that lesson learned.

I'm sure this can be done in Confluence, but I would like to hear some examples or see some discussion on this topic.




2 answers

Hi Rob, actually a lessons learned database is neither a document nor a task but is (as it says on the can) a database of entities of type/class "Lesson".  I think you will agree that JIRA is much more than a task list and JIRA ticket classes are infinitely customisable eg. Risks, Bugs, Problems, Change Requests etc. etc?  JIRA is actually a database containing instances of the various classes so why not a database of Lessons?  One of the most important requirements is that it contains searchable fields that make it easy to filter on lessons that are most important for a new project.  Again I think the features of Jira are very well suited to this.

If that works for you then great

I am curious as to what you have in mind.  Confluence seems to be the ideal place for this as it is documentation.  Given that Jira is task related, I'm not sure of what the benefits would be.  What would a lessons learned workflow entail?  How would this be structured?

Are you thinking of using lessons as sub-tasks, as a checklist, to make sure certain guidelines are followed?

I'd love to learn more as well and I'm looking in to this myself. It's been a while since this was posted, has no one had luck with this yet? 

I am also looking at setting up a Lessons Learned database using JIRA.  I think this is better than Confluence as we need a database rather than a document.  Use cases are:

  • Lessons Learned should be gathered from any project to create a comprehensive database resource.
  • Each entry should have multiple fields so that Lessons Learned most appropriate can be easily searched for and prioritised to inform the current project.
  • A simple workflow is needed to keep the database concise and stop it getting clogged.  e.g Create, Close Duplicate, Reject, Accept...
  • Linking of lessons to catch dependencies and related ones is useful.
  • Attachments to give examples, and background are useful.

You always have the option of creating a report page in Confluence and embedding  a JIRA Table macro if a document work product is needed.

I'm curious as to what a lesson is in this context.

Hello Rob,  In this context a lesson can be any workaround, process improvement or corrective action that could have been taken to avoid or solve a problem encountered during the running of a project.  The idea is that by creating a lessons learned (learnt) database, the next project can avoid the same pitfalls and costs. A great example of a lesson not being learnt (and probably costing billions over the years) is Brooks's law.

OK, then these are documents, and not tasks.  I'm asking because Jira seems like the wrong place for this kind of information. 

Hi Mark, I too am thinking of using JIRA to manage a lesson throughout it's life cycle from, Capture, Analysis, Resolution and Exploitation.  If you take the view that a lesson is a mini project (specific, time bound etc etc) JIRA may be useful to assign owners and utilise SCRUM.  Keen to see how you have gotten on with this work effort?

Like Mark Paice likes this

Hi Michael, yes this is how I would envisage using Jira.  The object orientated combination of data and functionality (i.e. workflow ) in the JIRA ticket is exactly what is needed for the Lessons Learned database.  The most difficult thing is to recover the most appropriate and useful lessons at the start of a new project.  Ensuring that the lessons going into the database get triaged and curated to avoid it getting cluttered with duplicated, poorly documented or irrelevant lessons will make life easier for the guy who is setting up a next project.  In a traditional non Agile project someone can be assigned as permanent manager of the database and asigned tasks to ensure lessons are captured properly.  In an Agile project (e.g. Scrum) tasks can be raised and added to the backlog as a lesson arises and assigned to Team members to implement in a Sprint. In this case the Sprint Retrospective should be used to discuss the lessons as a Team.

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