Whenever an entrepreneur is running his or her business, there is not a single project which promises complete success or failure. Even when a project seems not to have gone as expected, either positively or negatively, company managers and business owners always have a lesson to learn. This is where the project postmortem comes in. whenever a company runs a postmortem on a project, the company management and staff should not view it as an investigation to determine what went wrong or who contributed to the successes and failures of the project. It is always an inquiry that is done to determine all the lessons that the business may learn for future references and not a chance to blame or reward people according to their different contributions.
A project postmortem that can be termed as being successful is one which the organization gets a chance to unpack the trajectory of a project in its entirety and dig deeper to determine why the project unfolded in a certain way leading to a specific outcome. In this article, we are going to highlight the fundamental principles of running a successful project postmortem.
Ensure that postmortem is a critical part of the process in your team
Frequent meetings to discuss the postmortem of your last project should be a critical part of the business operations and processes of your company. Your team can also be using postmortems to understand service reliability. This should be a standard for both the smaller projects and the big ones. Most companies and business entities have a tendency of running postmortems for the big projects and ignoring the smaller or on-going projects. It is also important to note that despite the fact the project postmortems were designed to be done after the completion of a certain project, your company does not have to wait for a long-term project to end so that you can get value from the insights of how you have been doing so far.
During the kick-off phase, you can have milestones where you can insert mini-postmortems at the end of every milestone. This gives your organization and its management a chance to have an insight of how a particular project is progressing and what can be done to improve project efficiency and output. Such mini-post-mortems also help identify problems that could potentially cause significant or even permanent damage and identify ways on how to have them avoided or solved.
Choose a postmortem moderator to keep the project meeting on Track
The primary goal of conducting a project postmortem is to evaluate what the organization or respective teams have accomplished in a constructive manner and identify the successes and failures and the factors that have contributed to those specific outcomes. There is the need to have a person who keeps the conversation in such a discussion on-point, moving forward and very civil for the postmortem to be productive. This is where the discussion moderator becomes increasingly important. The team or organization should point out a moderator before attending the actual meeting whose responsibility is to pick the agenda and act as the head of the discussion in the event that it gets out of hand.