Post Project Learning from Risk Register

A project comes to an end and now we are in a position to really critique or learn how things went. Ideally, we were learning all along, and now we have the final opportunity to review the project.  If our organization has heavy project management influences, we may have a “white book” that captures the things we learn.  What about a review of our risk register?  What can we learn from the review of the things we thought would go wrong?

A review of our risk register can tell us if we accurately assessed the impact of a particular stimulus.  We may find those things we anticipated being a problem were actually not much of a difficulty. We may also find out that most of what we were worried about never came to fulfillment, while our project was rife with things we had not considered and we were seriously affected.  For those risks for which we had actions, we can assess the efficacy of the response–we can even review the situation if we invoked the response as we had planned.

To know what our future is, we only need look over our shoulder to our past.  We forget this sometimes in the turmoil of daily project actions.  The truth is, we can alter how things work in our next project by understanding what went well and why, and what went not so good also with the question why.  Risk registers are for more than the immediate project execution as they contain a log of all we expected could go wrong with any consequence.  Learning from this helps us tailor our next project’s risk management to those things that actually can happen.

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