The best time to capture lessons learned is as you learn them! So why not use a tool to do so that is always handy during your project – your RAID log. Long term, this may be one of the most valuable ways to extend your RAID log.
Capturing lessons learned allows you to take a positive, constructive action following both problems and pleasant surprises that may come up. For example, in your meeting where you resolve an issue or remediate a risk, you can immediately flip over to your Lessons Learned log and prompt the team, “OK, now what are the lessons we need to take away from this experience for next time?”
All resolved Issues should find their way into your Lessons Learned log. There is a school of thought that your Issue log should be your Lessons Learned log. The problem with this approach is that you can learn as much or more from things that went right as you can from things that went wrong. But logging things that went really well in your Issues log to capture positive lessons learned is more than a little awkward.
All that said, simply documenting a lesson learned in a log somewhere doesn’t actually help anyone. You need to turn each lesson into action, whether it be changing a process, updating documents or incorporating the lesson into future planning. To do this, lessons learned should be revisited at the end of each iteration, phase or at the end of the project, so you can make an action plan to respond to each lesson learned.