50 Lessons Learned Templates (Google Sheets & Docs & PDF)

Maximize the effectiveness of your project management skills by using lessons-learned templates. A lessons-learned document is a simple breakdown, written by the project manager, of every potential and existing problem found within a project.

An effective lessons-learned report will also propose solutions to these problems. We’ll focus on a template so that one won’t have to start from scratch with every report they write, and it’s done right.

Creating Your Lesson Learned Template Steps

  1. Identify—Though it may sound obvious, do not discount the importance of this step. Identify what valuable lessons have been learned throughout the project and why they might be helpful to remember in the future. This is where the survey is genuinely so crucial because it is through the surveys that the most significant lessons are usually gleaned.
  2. Document—After the lessons learned have been identified, reporting them to project stakeholders is essential. One should tailor the report to the audience receiving it. Still, recognizing the learned lessons is only appreciated through documentation. This is part of why one creates the lesson-learned example.
  3. Analyze—Once everyone knows what lessons have been learned, figuring out how much value they hold is essential. It’s one thing to learn a lesson, but if you can’t understand why it was necessary, not much has been learned from it. Analyzing the lessons makes one better appreciate the hard work put into completing a project. This is where the heuristic value lies.
  4. Store—This is one of the more manageable steps. Ensure that the lessons you’ve learned and have now reported on or stored are where they can be found and called upon in the future. It’s important to know where these documents are because of all the time and effort that went into creating them.
  5. Retrieve—As we touched on in the last step, as long as documents are stored correctly and in a place and manner that is easy to attain, one can use them to avoid repeating mistakes. So, this step is just retrieving the work you’ve already done so that you can improve as you continue working on projects.

Google Docs Lesson Learned Templates

We converted these templates from Word because Google Docs are collaborative compared to having a local version and sharing via email. In Google Docs, you share links, making completing the templates for lessons learned quicker and easier.

Top Tips for Creating Lessons Learned Documents

  1. Work with the stakeholders. They want to see the project succeed as much as you do, if not more. So, include them and use their valuable insights to ensure the project moves forward at every point.
  2. Be sure to use and appreciate the lessons learned log. This will help lessen the workload when it comes to writing your analysis. If you keep up with this log throughout the project, you won’t have to dig through papers you probably won’t remember writing, and instead, you’ll be able to appreciate what struggles were being encountered.
  3. Find out how you best communicate your thoughts and ideas to others. This will help you effectively capture the lessons learned during the project and make them meaningful to others.
  4. Just like in the last step, appreciate your communication styles so that you can share your thoughts and lessons learned in your report. Whether this is in your report or on a one-on-one basis between colleagues, you’ll be able to help others appreciate the lessons learned.

How to Create a Lessons Learned Template

To begin your lessons-learned template, there are a few things that you will need to keep in mind: The best way to begin is by analyzing past lesson-learned documents to understand what was required and get in the mindset of analyzing the failures and accomplishments as seen in the project.

One can better assess the task by seeing what has been done successfully.

All documents representing the major ups and downs throughout the project should be collected and used during the analysis of the lessons learned. It’s easy to forget the little things when looking at the end of a project, but the little things make significant changes and affect the outcomes.

Everyone working on the project must complete a survey to gain better insight into the inner workings of the day-to-day tasks completed to provide results. This survey should ask questions about all the different project parts so everyone can understand better.

You’ll need the change log, which records every change requested, made, and suggested for the project. This contributes insight into where things started and what changes could be made, could not be made, and potentially should’ve been made.

It’s important to note that though they are similar, the lessons learned report differs from the project closure document. The project closure document is an overall assessment of the project and, as stated in the name, can only be completed once the project has ended.

The lesson-learned analysis shows what was done correctly and incorrectly, and it seeks to provide a heuristic benefit.

Lessons Learned Templates in Google Sheets

To edit a Google Sheet, navigate to: File / Make a Copy. You must be logged in to Google to access this feature.

Lessons Learned Templates in PDF

This platform should be used if using an existing template or lessons-learned example. It is also a perfect platform to use when the analysis is fully completed and one wishes to share their findings with others. Still, while creating an analysis, this might not be the most accessible technology.


Share your thoughts on this article in the comment section below! If you found it useful, we’d love to hear from you. Writing this was important to me, especially since I was initially puzzled by the lesson-learned document. If this article helped clarify things for you, please let us know!

Shane Drumm

Shane Drumm

Shane Drumm, holding certifications in PMP®, PMI-ACP®, CSM, and LPM, is the author behind numerous articles featured here. Hailing from County Cork, Ireland, his expertise lies in implementing Agile methodologies with geographically dispersed teams for software development projects. In his leisure, he dedicates time to web development and Ironman triathlon training. Find out more about Shane on shanedrumm.com and please reach out and connect with Shane on LinkedIn.

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