Lessons Learned Case Format

Lessons learned systems have been difficult to implement for many reasons.

One challenge has been determining the right amount of structure to use when building a repository of cases. If the format is too rigid, users avoid entering new cases. Too loose, and the cases tend to lack context, depth and consistency.

At Lessons Learned World, we aim to strike a balance between structure and flexibility. We do this by using a consistent format, but not requiring that every field be filled out completely, except for a few key elements (indicated in bold):

1. Case #*
2. Title*
3. Author/contributor*
4. Applicable to (see categories and themes below)*
5. Ratings/reviews
6. Story*
7. Setting (situational context)
8. Problem (symptoms/observations, why it’s a problem and the impact if not solved)+
9. Goal (challenge)+
10. Root cause (of the problem/challenge and how it was determined)
11. Solution (action taken and how it came about)*
12. Outcome (the end result and its impact)*
13. Analysis (what worked and why, what didn’t work and why)
14. Cautions/warnings
15. Lesson (moral of the story, guidelines, rules, recommendations)*
16. Full narrative
17. Source data/reference documents


+Must include either a problem statement, goal statement, or both

Categories and Topics