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2 October 2023

Foster a Culture of Learning and Growth with Post-Mortems


“Examination of our past is never time-wasting. Reverberations from the past provide leading rubrics for living today.” - Kilroy J. Oldster, Dead Toad Scrolls

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Mistakes are inevitable and are deemed to happen at some point during a project’s development lifecycle. Although this statement sounds harsh, these experiences help us gain knowledge and understanding that could be applied to future projects.

Corresponding to the aforementioned statement, it is even more important to reflect on the positives to ensure that successes are repeated when similar opportunities arise in the future. Celebrating these successes is likely the most essential factor when conducting a project debrief.

A post-mortem can be defined as an organised investigation of a project, from start to finish, to determine what went well and what can be improved upon. Post-mortems are normally conducted at the end of a project’s production lifecycle. By implementing them, we can cultivate experiences from a project and apply the newly gained knowledge and ideas onto later projects and challenges.

Reach new heights by incorporating proper process reflection

There are several benefits that become prominent after carrying out a successful post-mortem. The biggest factor is the improvement of efficiency in ongoing and future projects. As a team analyses processes to improve upon them, these processes will become more efficient. After every project debrief we are able to acquire understanding and knowledge from the successes and issues faced. This helps in mitigating risk in the future by carrying out what has been learned and implementing suggestions and ideas onto existing processes.

How do we identify areas of improvement and ensure that issues do not resurface in the future? Was the deadline realistic? Were there enough resources on the project? Was the team properly briefed and aware of all of the tasks assigned to them? These are all important questions that are discussed during post-mortem meetings. It is crucial for businesses to be able to identify issues and communicate solutions to facilitate growth and prosperity.

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Celebrate wins to guarantee recurrent successes

A person with a personal trainer would be more likely to reach their fitness goals than a person who trains by themselves. The same concept can be applied to a project and its team. Repeated successes are most likely to take place if positive encouragement is highlighted during a debrief. Celebrating wins and giving praise where praise is due is an essential element of a post-mortem meeting. This helps team members feel valued and appreciated, which in return will ensure consistency in good work.

In addition to increasing efficiency, a post-mortem is an important tool that is utilised to improve morale and teamwork. These meetings play a pivotal role in understanding the end result of all of the hard work and late nights that have been put into a project. A team will also better understand each other’s capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Using this understanding we can ensure that our teams work as a cohesive unit with ameliorated communication and morale after every post-mortem.

A post-mortem can also provide closure to projects. By using post-mortems as a final close-off ritual, a sense of accomplishment is acquired. As a completed project is examined, it not only provides an opportunity to take a step back and reflect, but also provides a feeling of finalisation and pride. This is a great way to end off any project and begin new projects with high morale and a motivated team.

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Addressing flaws and shortcomings

As stated, post-mortems are used as a learning and growing tool. To receive the most information and participation from the team involved in a project debrief, it is crucial to keep your post-mortem sessions positive and constructive.

These sessions are not intended to place blame on anyone, instead they are utilised as a tool that highlights issues and identifies possible solutions. When a post-mortem is kept positive and constructive, the benefits will reflect to a much greater extent than it would have if the session was based on criticism and finger pointing.

By keeping this in mind, we can evidently see general internal growth while still addressing flaws and shortcomings that have been experienced in this project.

To conclude

After highlighting the clear benefits of conducting post-mortems, it is apparent that these investigations are crucial in a business’s growth. Project managers and businesses are encouraged to conduct post-mortems to facilitate general maturation and improvement that will become evident in future projects.

At CubeZoo, we are always looking for intuitive ways to improve our services and provide the best possible products and experiences to our clients. Post-mortems have proven to be an efficient way to learn, grow and adapt to new circumstances and experiences - ultimately making CubeZoo a better partner to our clients.

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