Lessons learned in business analysis

Business analysts use the lessons learned process to compose and document successes, opportunities for improvement, failures, and recommendations for enhancing the performance of future projects.

A lessons learned or retroactive session is used to spot either changes to the business analysis processes and deliverables or successes that can be added to future work.

These sessions can include any format or venue that is suitable to the key stakeholders and can be either be formal facilitated meetings with a set time table or informal working sessions. If there are notable successes, a celebration may be included in the lessons learned session.

The lesson learned sessions can include an assessment of:

  1. Business analysis activities and work products.
  2. The final solution, service, or product.
  3. Any technology that was introduced or removed.
  4. The effect on the organizational processes.
  5. The solution’s performance expectations and results.
  6. The positive or negative variances of the performance results.
  7. The root causes affecting the solution’s performance results.
  8. Any advice for future behavioural approaches.

Lesson learned has its strengths and limitations, which include:

• It is useful for spotting opportunities or areas of improvement.
• It helps in building team morale after a hard project.
• It strengthens positive experiences and successes.
• It decreases the risks for future actions.
• It provides material value as an outcome of the work.
• It identifies strengths or weaknesses with the project methodology, or the tools that were used.

• It may limit frank discussions because the participants could try to assign blame during these sessions.
• The participants may be resistant to documenting and talking about the project problems.
• The participants may need to be guided to ensure that the discussions remain focused on the solution and improvement opportunities.