How Do I Set Up a Lessons Learned Database Using SharePoint?

By Janice Uwujaren

George Santayana, a Spanish-American writer once said: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Repeating past mistakes can be a costly price to pay for not having a concrete solution in place for capturing lessons learned. Lessons Learned is a project and process management tool that business managers use to document experiences from past projects to shape and improve current and future projects. You can leverage a collection of SharePoint objects to create a simple Lessons Learned database that includes the Issues Tracking List, a Lessons Learned Custom List, Lookup column that connects the two lists, and content types.

Things You'll Need

  • SharePoint 2010

Create Lessons Learned Content Type

Step 1

Select "Site Settings" from the "Site Actions" menu drop-down on the left side of your top-level site. Click on "Site Content Type" under the "Galleries" heading. Click the "Create" link at the top of the Site Content Types page.

Step 2

Enter "LessonsLearned" in the "Name" field of the New Content Type page. The first letter of each word should be capitalized with no space between. Select parent content type from "List Content Types" and set the parent content type as "Item."

Step 3

Specify the Site Content Type group as "Custom Content Types" under the "Existing group:" heading. Click "OK" to confirm settings and return to the Site Content Types page. The new content type "LessonsLearned" should now appear under the Custom Content Type category.

Step 4

Click on the new content type "LessonsLearned." Select "Name, description, and group" under the "Settings" heading. In the "Name" field, add a space between Lessons and Learned. Click "OK" to confirm this change.

Create Issues Tracking and Lessons Learned Lists

Step 1

Select "More Options" from the "Site Actions" Menu drop-down on the left side of your top-level site.

Step 2

Select the "Issue Tracking" list type from the "Create" page.

Step 3

Enter "Issues" in the "Name" field and click "Create."

Create Lessons Learned Custom List with Lookup Column

Step 1

Click on "Title, description and navigation" under the "General Settings" heading. Add a space between Lessons and Learned and click "Save" to confirm this change. Click on "Advanced Settings" under the "General Settings" heading. In the "Content Types" section, set "Allow management of content types?" to "Yes" and click "OK" to confirm settings.

Step 2

Click the "Create Column" link under the "Columns" heading. Enter "Lesson#" in the "Column Name" field. Select "Calculated" as the column type. In the "Additional Column Settings" section, under the "Formula" field, enter "=[ID]" (without quotes). Select "Number" as the data return type and "0" as the number of decimal places. Uncheck the box next to "Add to all content types" and leave "Add to default view" checked. Click "OK" to confirm settings and create a new column.

Step 3

Click the "Create Column" link under the "Columns" heading. Enter "LessonDate" in the "Column Name" field. Select "Date and Time" as the column type. In the "Additional Column Settings" section, set "Require that this column contains information:" to "Yes;" "Enforce unique values" to "No;" "Date and Time Format:" to "Date only;" and "Default value" to "Today's date." Uncheck the box next to "Add to all content types," and leave "Add to default view" checked. Click "OK" to confirm settings and create new a column.

Step 4

Click the "Create Column" link under the "Columns" heading. Enter "Event Description" in the "Column Name" field. Select "Multiple lines of text" as the column type. In the "Additional Column Settings" section, set "Require that this column contains information:" to "Yes." Change text type to "Plain text." Uncheck the box next to "Add to all content types" and leave "Add to default view" checked. Click "OK" to confirm settings and create new column.

Step 5

Click the "Create Column" link under the "Columns" heading. Enter "Lessons Learned" in the "Column Name" field. Select "Multiple lines of text" as the column type. In the "Additional Column Settings" section, change text type to "Plain text." Uncheck the box next to "Add to all content types" and leave "Add to default view" checked. Click "OK" to confirm settings and create a new column.

Step 6

Click the "Create Column" link under the "Columns" heading. Enter "Recommendations" in the "Column Name" field. Select "Multiple lines of text" as the column type. In the "Additional Column Settings" section, change text type to "Plain text." Uncheck the box next to "Add to all content types," and leave "Add to default view" checked. Click "OK" to confirm settings and create new column.

Step 7

Click the "Create Column" link under the "Columns" heading. Enter "RelatedIssues" in the "Column Name" field. Select "Lookup" as the column type. In the "Additional Column Settings" section, get information from "Issues" list and set "In this column:" to "Title". Uncheck the box next to "Add to all content types" and leave "Add to default view" checked. Click "OK" to confirm settings and create a new column.

Step 8

Click each column name in the list to add spaces as applicable to the column names now that you have completed creating all the columns.

Add Custom List Columns to Lessons Learned Content Type

Step 1

Select "Add from existing site content types" in the "Content Types" heading of the Lessons Learned List Settings page. Under the "Available Site Content Types" heading, select "Lessons Learned," and click "Add." Click "OK" to continue.

Step 2

Select the new content type "Lessons Learned" from the Lessons Learned List Settings page. Under the "Columns" heading, click the "Add from existing site or list columns" link. Select all list columns and click "Add." Click "OK" to continue.

Step 3

Click the "Change new button order and default content type" link and Lessons Learned content type position to "1" and click "OK" to continue. This sets the Lessons Learned content type as the default content type for the Lessons Learned list. Select the new content type "Lessons Learned" from the Lessons Learned List Settings page. Under the "Columns" heading, click the "Add from existing site or list columns" link. Select all list columns and click "Add." Click "OK" to continue.

Step 4

Click the "Change new button order and default content type" link and Lessons Learned content type position to "1" and click "OK" to continue. This sets the Lessons Learned content type as the default content type for the Lessons Learned list.

Create Simple Dashboard Page to Connect Lists

Step 1

Select the issues list under the "Lists" heading of the Quick Launch bar. From the List Tools, select "Create View" ribbon item under "List." Select "All Issues" in the "Starting from an existing view" section. Enter "Issues" as the "View Name." Clear all check boxes except for the check box next to the "Title" column, and click "OK" to continue.

Step 2

Return to the Site Collection home page. Place your cursor in the left web part zone. At the top, next to "Browse," select "Page." From the Ribbon menu, select "Edit" from the "Edit" menu. From the Editing Tools menu, select "Insert" and click the "Web Part" ribbon item. Select the "Issues" list and click "Add" to insert to the page. Now, place your cursor in the right Web Part zone. Select the "Lessons Learned" list, and click "Add" to insert to the page.

Step 3

Select "Edit Web Part" from the Issues Web Part menu. Choose "Issues" from the "Selected view:" drop-down, and click "OK" to continue.

Step 4

Select "Connections" from the Issues Web Part menu. Click on "Send row of data to" and click on "Lessons Learned." In the Configure Connections dialog, select "Title" as the "Provider field name:" from the Issues list and "Related Issues" as the "Consumer field name" from the Lessons Learned list. Click "Finish" to continue. Click the "Select" icon next to each issue title to view related lessons learned.