Magazine article PM Network

In Hindsight

Magazine article PM Network

In Hindsight

Article excerpt

Post-project reviews can help companies see what went wrong-and right.

The best leaders do not rely on others to direct them in performing good business practices; instead, they blaze the trail in seeking, creating and applying best practices. Post-project reviews are an excellent example of demonstrating leadership-or lack thereof. Many project managers don't initiate post-project reviews unless they're told to do so by a higher-up or it's mandated as part of their project management methodology.

But the post-project review is an essential part of project closeout There is no better way for an organization to consistently improve itself and become more competitive than to perform routine reviews and to apply the lessons learned going forward.

Still, reviews have a mixed success rate because of weak or absent leadership in their execution and especially in the application of the lessons learned. Following this 12-step process, however, can help you and your organization improve its review process.

1. Mandate post-project reviews as part of your organization's project management methodology. All team members must continually look for ways to improve how projects are conducted.

2. Request that resource managers not attend. Their presence often causes others to not be as forthcoming in identifying areas for improvement.

3. Avoid having the project manager conduct the review ... Instead, an outside project manager, preferably a trained facilitator, should lead to maintain objectivity.

4. ... but include the project manager in the discussion. This person is likely the most valuable player and typically sees the project more comprehensively than others.

5. Do not focus exclusively on what went wrong. Pay as much attention to what went right to ensure these lessons aren't overlooked on future projects.

6. Don't try to look for solutions during the review. …

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