Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Post-Mortems

As a business owner, growing with your staff to hone in on your overall skills is the key to continued expansion. The journey to never-ending improvement can be easily kept on track with successful post-mortems. In order to ensure you’re getting the most out of your post-mortems, you should implement the tips listed out below.

The first key to a successful post-mortem is to actually do one. This seems like common sense but hear us out for a minute. Most business owners love the idea of doing project post-mortems and they know the many benefits they offer. Unfortunately, projects tend to go by as they keep trying to find a way to setup post-mortems. If this describes you, it’s time to commit to doing post-mortems for every project, no matter how small. When you and your team get into the habit of doing post-mortems, you’re going to be on the right track for making them work for you.

Going into a meeting without a clear idea of what you’re going to discuss is a surefire way to kill the successfulness of any post-mortem. A simple outline of the things that will be discussed can help to keep your meeting on track and allow every one of your team members to come up with ideas prior to the meeting. Take some time and formulate a simple outline of topics that will be discussed during the post-mortem. Deliver this outline to your team members a few days before the meeting for best results.

People don’t like to hear about how they were unsuccessful or blamed for things that went wrong. You should always start your post-mortems off with a good tone. Ask your team for the things that went well during the project. This will put everyone in a constructive frame of mind. When your team members are in a constructive state, they’ll be more receptive to receiving constructive feedback to use in the future. So, wait until the latter part of the meeting to go over the things that didn’t work. You can learn more about the order of post-mortem meetings when you read the article, Postmortems and More with J. Paul Reed.

Another trick to having a successful post-mortem is to bring your clients into the meeting. While this is a highly debated area of post-mortems between business owners, we believe that it can help to do so from time to time. When you have clients that you’re personally familiar with their style of doing post-mortems, having them join your team can be a great asset. This will give your team real-time feedback on what the client got from their project completion. This is vital information that can give your team insight into the other end of the spectrum. Having many different perspectives on a project can help to improve the overall effectiveness of future projects.

Being a small business owner means always thinking about new ways to improve your business. Post-mortems are a great way to hone the skills of your team and ensure they’re getting better over time. Having a successful post-mortem is the key to receiving this constant improvement.