The Basics of Project Evaluation and Lessons Learned, Second Edition – A Book Review

the basics of project eval and lessons learned book coverThe Basics of Project Evaluation and Lessons Learned, Second Edition is the updated book of the award-winning literature that discussed the concepts of and the approach for conducting lessons learned (LL). The concept of project lessons learned helps teams determine if the project is a success, helps determine its impact and helps capture valuable knowledge to enhance future programs. The new edition aligns to the latest PMBOK Guide (5th) and contains new chapters for PRINCE2, Agile Retrospectives, and Knowledge Transfer. It also includes new resources in a free CD that comes with the book. It provides a practical guidance for conducting LL in a simplified and formalized way.

Book Details

The paperback edition was published in August 2014 by Productivity Press. It has 214 pages and is about 1 inch thick. The cover shows the title in large dark fonts on a checkered background. The words “2nd Edition” is displayed below the title, and below it is the author’s name. ISBN-10: 1482204533; ISBN-13: 978-1482204537


$24.95 for the paperback edition and $20.06 for the Kindle edition


Target Audience

The Basics of Project Evaluation and Lessons Learned is for project team members of all organization sizes in any type of industry.

What Customers Say

Liliana Rodriguez described the book a very useful tool for evaluators regardless of experience. It brings techniques and tools together in a comprehensive way. She stated that the clarity of definitions, figures, and lessons in each chapter makes it a great reference in PM evaluation.

Rob Gustafson is not a certified project manager but involved in IT projects. He described the book as valuable because it keeps the review process of projects simple and straightforward to help his team determine what can be done better.

(From reviews of 1st Edition)

Content, Approach, Style

The Basics of Project Evaluation and Lessons Learned is divided into 12 chapters. The first chapter is about an overview of project management. It provides definitions and discusses ideas such as what is PM, why it is done, and who is a project manager. It also identifies and enumerates other basic concepts such as process groups, knowledge areas, boundaries, programs vs portfolios, and more. Chapter 2 is about evaluation, its origins, components, and outcome. Lessons learned is also discussed in this chapter. The next chapters discuss the LL process, support systems and repositories, best practices and benchmarking, and so on.

The book is easy to read with appropriate section headers and titles. It uses short paragraphs, lists, tables, and other visual aids to provide a quick way to search information. It provides definitions and explanations to terms that are used in specialized areas such as project management. It is complete with an appendix and index at the end of the book.

Why Buy the Book

The Basics of Project Evaluation and Lessons Learned provides a simplified way for project team members to conduct a formal and acceptable lessons learned evaluation regardless of PM experience and skill level. It is an informative and practical reference and study guide with many examples. It adds value to PM training but is not meant to be a substitute. It does not present any new concept, but provides a systematic method to make sure valuable lessons learned are presented in an organized and effective way.

Books that Complement

Guide to Project Management by Paul Roberts relates PM practice and business culture effectively, with good explanations on the importance of stakeholder management.

Dr. Kerzner’s Project Management 2.0 is a relevant and comprehensive reference that provides the reader a better understanding of the development of PM framework over the years, as well as available information and tools to help increase efficiency and improve outcomes.


Willis H. Thomas, PhD, is a certified project manager (PMP) and a certified performance technologist (CPT). He received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While working at Xerox, he studied and received his Master of Science degree in Human Resource Management from National Louis University, IL. While with Pfizer, he received his PhD in Evaluation from Western Michigan University. Dr. Thomas has been involved in training and organizational development in many industries such as the pharmaceutical, telecommunications and IT sectors. He is a featured speaker who has delivered presentations on PM, training and evaluation to companies and organizations around the globe. He has written several books, one of which was the first edition of this book in review that received the 2012 Cleland Award from the PMI, recognizing the best PM literature published during the previous year.

$24.95 for the paperback edition and $20.06 for the Kindle edition


Jose Maria Delos Santos

Jose is a subject matter expert and member of the writing team for and Bridge24. He has written hundreds of articles including project management software reviews, books reviews, training site reviews, and general articles related to the project management industry.