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Project Management: Post Mort It!
By Project Manage This

You just spent months, you don’t even remember how many any more, 120% invested in your project. When you weren’t working on it, you were dreaming about it. There was food somewhere in there, you’re pretty sure of it. And then it shipped. Champagne was consumed, cheers all around, and blurry eyed team members embraced. Wow, we did it! You knew all along you would, but there were moments when it just didn’t feel like it would happen. Congratulations!

Okay, now what? To start with:

  • Breath, deep breath. There you go.
  • If you haven’t already scheduled a vacation, even a brief one. Do it now, your next project is sneaking up and fast.

  • Catch up with friends & family; they miss you. They may even think you’ve forgotten them. Yes, this really should be #1, but breathing is important, and you could miss that awesome vacation deal if you don’t check flights and quick (we are planners after all).

But, before you do anything schedule the post-mortem. It’s true that the entire team is ready to move on, including yourself. They’re tired and it feels like a lifetime ago. Just make it happen though – it truly and honestly is a must do. There’s nothing like a good post mort.

It’s easy…

  • Lunch or snacks are a must. Treat the team.
  • Congratulate them and thank them. Not just for their individual contributions, but for their participation as part of the team.

  • Round table time, #1: What was great about the project?. It’s important that everyone speaks. It’s okay to repeat, but it’s important that each person share what they think were highlights of the project. Up to 3 comments per person is the norm, but this comes down to the size of your team and how much time you have. Make sure you have time for round #2.

  • Round #2: “Maybe not so much?” It’s critical to set the stage here; no feelings will be hurt, anything can be said, what is communicated can help teams with future process decisions and more. Keep it constructive but don’t hold back. This is an opportunity for team members to pitch ideas for future improvements based on their personal experiences. It’s gold and you’ll learn something each and every time you sit in on a post mort.

Always end on a positive note and thank the team once again. Pat yourself on the back to. Wholly cow, you did it!

Project managers, program managers, producers, account managers, coordinators, and the like. The unsung heroes. We’re the ones that keep things moving and get it done on time and on budget. We keep our teams motivated and on track, make sure our boss and/or client is happy, and ensure that the community we’re building for get the best product possible. You never see us sweat, rarely hear us swear, and are amazed at how calm we are when fires erupt. That’s because we’re good at what we do.

We absolutely love our job. Making things happen, getting things done, that’s our nature. We never ever vent at work. Ok, rarely do. But we do have tales to tell. “Project Manage This” is a place for PM types to love and hate the career we’ve chosen.

If you have a tale to tell tweet @pmthis

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