Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Planning a Project Post-Mortem - Part II

This entry is a continuation of the previous post - Planning a Project Post-Mortem - Part I.

At this point, you have solicited feedback from your team on a specific project, and the information has been synthesized and shared in a brainstorming session.  Potential process improvements have been determined, and it's time to close the loop and act on the information.  Below, the final phase of a post-mortem is described.

  • Implementation of process improvements: As a Project Manager, once decisions have been reached internally about how your current process could be optimized, it is your responsibility to implement these changes in future projects.  If your current process is documented, work from this material to incorporate and formalize the changes in writing.  If you have a project timeline template, the changes should also be reflected there.  Regardless, the changes need to be communicated to the entire production staff - particularly since some individuals may not have participated in the project post-mortem.  Ideally, this communication will take place at an all-staff meeting.  What the team needs at this point are the highlights of key changes - how will these change affect each department?  How can they prepare for the changes?  People are more willing to adapt to change if they know what to expect.  
A project post-mortem is one of the most valuable methods available for analyzing weaknesses in a project lifecycle.  It gives team members an outlet for their feedback, and provides new perspectives to the Project Manager, who is sometimes too close to the process to assess it objectively. 

The process outlined in this and the previous post  are simply a guideline, and should be adapted for each organization for optimum effectiveness and ease of implementation.


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  2. Thoughtful description. Here's my take on it. A lot of similarities. My overall feeling is that, time well-spent upstream can help avoid the need for too mortem.