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Defence Estate Quality Management System (DEQMS) Davis Langdon Certification Services

Lessons Learnt and Knowledge Management

Planning, Delivery and Completion are the stages of CFI business where the conduct of internal lesson learnt discussions and workshops should occur. These stages have been defined at the high level and align with the business process applied to CFI projects.

Lessons Learnt Definitions


  • A lesson can be seen as a recommendation based on an analysed experience from which others can learn in order to improve their performance, and needs to be specific enough that you can learn from it. It needs to be actionable and it needs to be a recommendation, rather than an observation. This part of the process is about identifying the lesson.

Lesson Learnt

  • Lesson Learned is knowledge, an understanding or an improvement gained from an experience that has a significant impact for an organisation. The experience may be either positive or negative with successes also being seen as Lessons Learned. In order for a lesson to be learnt we need to undertake analysis and testing against an action, either positive or negative to gain insight and to demonstrate the learnt element. This part of the process is about applying the identified lesson. Some of the analysis you can ask in this part of the process:
    • Reflect on the part of the business process being considered and analyse as a team the experience and what occurred.
    • Identify as a team the learning points and assess if there was a difference between what was planned, and what actually happened and if so was that a positive or negative difference.
    • Analyse as a team why you felt there was a difference and what the Team felt were the root causes of any such difference and if the difference demonstrated a benefit or caused an issue for the project?
    • Define as a team what you think is the learning point? What should be done in future applications of that part of the business process stage to avoid the pitfall, or to repeat the success? At this stage we have a Lesson Learnt Identified.


  • An observation is a reflection that has no analysis and recommendation but the subject topic could benefit future projects by the sharing of that knowledge.

Lessons Learnt Register

A Lesson Learnt Register should be commenced at the beginning of each stage to facilitate the progressive capture of any lesson/observation. It is also encouraged that a lesson/observation discussion be a standing agenda item at Project Monthly Meetings as an additional mechanism to capture lessons/observations with dialogue held by all parties. The outcome of this should then be reflected in the relevant project stage register.

Lessons Learnt Workshop

At the conclusion of each stage a Lesson Learnt Workshop should be conducted to analyse the items captured in the register and to discuss any additional observations/lessons. If for the lesson it cannot be determined by the project staff that an action occurred to validate the “learnt” element then this should be escalated to Directorate of Program Assurance (DPA) to commence a quality review and for the application of a process in order to be able to measure the learnt element. Using the Lesson Learnt Workshop Report the team members should recommend a range of Lesson Learnt Actions. To provide guidance on the type of actions the following is provided for project consideration:

  • Is there feedback that needs to be provided externally to a stakeholder or another Branch? For example:
    • Is there a lesson or observation that needs to be provided in relation to the EIR? 
    • Is there a lesson or observation that needs to be provided to CIOG?
    • Is there a lesson or observation that needs to be provided to DPA on the DEQMS products that supported this element of the business process?
  • Is there a lesson or observation that needs to be uploaded into the Lesson Learnt Database in order for a continuous improvement action to occur on that issue?
  • Are there contract management actions/reviews that need to be considered?
  • Is there a quality issue with the CFI Branch products within DEQMS?

Lessons Learnt and Knowledge Management Database

The Lesson Learnt and Knowledge Management database has two access points for data entry – the front end being user access where they can insert a lesson or observation and/or upload an item for the library.  DPA manages the review process of these inputted items through back end access and they will assess and approve the item for publishing. Once the item is published it will then become an available item within the database under the search parameter.

The Lesson Learnt Database will capture the outcome of the Lessons Learnt Workshops via two methods:

  • first being the recording of individual lessons in the core area of the database associating metadata categories against the topic to enable future search parameters; and
  • secondly, through attachment of the Report itself into the Database Library module.

The review process by DPA is critical to validate the items inputted into the database to ensure the content does not make details public that could be deemed confidential, commercial in confidence or airing Branch internal business.

Version Control
Version No: 2.0 | Last Updated: Aug 17 | Next Review: Jun 18
Technical Authority: DGCFI
Subject Matter Expert: DPA