What Can You Learn from Your Last Creative Project?

Learning from our past successes and/or mistakes is critical for growth. Doing more of “what we did right” and less of “what we did wrong” makes a difference in our road to success.

In the project management world, the team holds a “Lessons Learned” session. We talk through the positives and the negatives. Each item is documented for future projects. The negative items are further explored to find ways to mitigate these flaming wrecks before they happen.

Here are a few ways you can do your own “Lessons Learned” for your creative projects:

Be as objective as you can: Pour a glass of wine or grab a handful of chocolate. Your intent in doing the lessons learned is to be better next time

Gather the folks you worked with on the project. Be respectful of their time (especially if you worked with an independent editor. It might not be the best idea to contact a publisher’s editor. You don’t want to ruin your chances for next time.) and don’t push. If they can’t meet with you, then ask them if they’d be willing to express their views via email

Write every thought down (whether you agree with it or not). You can sort them later

Step away from the list and take time to mull things over. Try not to be down on yourself for the negatives. This is a learning tool.

Take action. Hold on tight to the positives and make a plan to correct the negatives.

Remember though – you may not be able to “fix” everything the next go around. It’s a journey.

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4 thoughts on “What Can You Learn from Your Last Creative Project?

  1. shaunkellett says:

    Doing a “Lessons Learned” is something I’ve learnt to do through my full-time job, where we work on a lot of big projects. In all honesty, it functions as little more than red tape. However, when I started applying it to my own work after completing personal projects (which, at first, I thought of as simply ‘reflections’ until I realised it was the same principle…) it dawned on me how helpful it really is. It’s enabled me to point out some of my weaker areas, but also to maximise some of my strengths. Some good advice here, thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. […] Improving Your Processes – Have you gathered lessons learned to improve your next project and avoid the same mistakes? See my post “What Can You Learn from Your Last Creative Project?” […]

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