Holding a Personal Lessons Learned Review

Color team reviews are held to strengthen engagement efforts. Once the proposal has been submitted, ideally, you hold a Lessons Learned, or White Hat, review. A Lessons Learned review gathers information from the customer and your own observations to determine what can be improved in your next proposal or capture opportunity.

As some states throughout the country cautiously begin to reopen, now is a perfect time to hold your own personal Lessons Learned review. If you were able to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, review what worked well and what did not work. With a little tweaking, tactics used while working from home can strengthen your performance in the office

Learn from Your Mistakes

One of the most important aspects of a Lessons Learned review is learning from your mistakes. When you are working on proposals, keep a running list of past mistakes determined by either you or the customer. Place the list in your everyday workspace to remind yourself to avoid the same mistakes in future proposals. Create a similar list for non-effective tactics you tried while working from home.

For many, the chance to work from home was exciting at first. The environment is more casual, and you save money telecommuting. However, you may have discovered you focus better at the office because it is a dedicated place to work—and nothing else. Make a list of ways you coped with some of the challenges of working from home. Were headphones a lifeline when you really needed to meet a deadline? Did you work better with the background noise of your kids’ cartoons or people’s conversations? See if any of these tactics will boost your efficiency in the office.

Repeat Successes

A winning proposal implements winning proposal development practices. After you submit a proposal, a Lessons Learned review will highlight successful proposal practices that you can use in future proposals. When you know a process or tactic will work, you can enhance a proposal by using the process again. The same is true for at-home work performance.

Working from home with family or roommates around may have forced you to learn what time of day you work most effectively. Quarantining with family taught many to maximize work hours. Did you buckle down the first hours of the day? Were you able to get more done late at night when everyone was quieter? Understanding when you are most productive during the day can help you work more efficiently when you return to the office. Reflect on successful work practices you used while at home and determine how you can implement them in the office.

Seek External Input

Some of the best feedback in a Lessons Learned review comes from the customer. Customers review the final proposal and make the selection, so their feedback is incredibly helpful for future proposals. If you were part of a team separated due to COVID-19, ask your team members how they viewed your at-home work performance. Also review how virtual meetings impacted your success as a team. Was having short meetings frequently an effective way to work as a team? Did fewer meetings with relevant information maximize communication?

Many of the team challenges will resolve themselves when you are working in the same physical space again. However, there may be times in the future where necessity requires virtual teams. Work together to determine how you can improve virtual team efforts in the future.


Holding a Lessons Learned review after proposal submission is an effective way to enhance future proposals. As we get closer and closer to life after COVID-19, you can emulate successful at-home work practices and avoid what did not work.