BlogPendant Automation Diary – Part 7; Project Management Post-Mortems

Pendant Automation Diary – Part 7; Project Management Post-Mortems

By Gary Stokes
January 19th, 2018

Your Project Management Post-Mortem Will Be Less Painful If . . .

Effective project management processes include an effective “post-mortem” review of the project by the members of the project team.  At Pendant, 3PD is our catchy name (well, we think it’s catchy) for the project post-mortem process (Pendant Post Project Debrief).

Sometimes a 3PD review is painful.  It can produce similar feelings to what a middle linebacker, who whiffed on a key tackle on Sunday, experiences when the team reviews game film on Tuesday.

In the Pendant 3PD, the process includes:

  • A review of the goals for the project
  • How we did relative to the goals
  • Analysis of the causes of variance from the goals
  • Start/Stop/Continue lists

Now to the important part hinted at in the title. What we know from experience is that great outcomes in the 3PD are closely related to executing a great project kickoff meeting.  We call it the 3PB (Pendant Pre-Project Briefing). One of the most important parts of the 3PB is the “pre-mortem”.

Is that a thing, a pre-mortem?

It’s just what it sounds like. You engage the team in a discussion in which everyone is to imagine that we have already completed the project and totally messed it up. Team members contribute their thoughts about what we did poorly to create such a situation.

The pre-mortem is a powerful way to switch the viewpoint. Looking at the project from a different angle opens up everyone’s mind to make sure we avoid those critical mistakes. When it’s done diligently, the post-mortem in the 3PD almost always looks way better than the pre-mortem in the 3PB.

Filling in the blanks, your project post-mortem will be less painful if you complete a great pre-mortem before the project starts.

I’d like a great post-mortem on my next project