Stacy Pearson’s One Simple Thing: The Project Debrief Session
(The following article is part of our One Simple Thing…to Improve Projects series. It was contributed by Stacy Pearson. Stacy is a volunteer, mom, and project manager. She is also the founder of The Blogunteer – a blog that is dedicated to inspiring volunteerism by highlighting the many organizations already out there making a difference and individuals who give their time. You can follow Stacy Pearson on Twitter at http://twitter.com/stacy_pearson.)
At the end of a project, many of us just want to be done. We may already have a new thing to move onto, we may be happy that some project frustrations will go away, or we may just look forward to an end of project celebration.
One item that is often overlooked is a project debrief session to gather lessons learned. The lessons learned should be captured at the end of the project or project phase by all stakeholders involved. This could be a series of interviews, a group discussion, a survey or some combination of these. Some projects may see value in a facilitated debrief session to gather feedback and keep the peace between participants.
The key to the debrief process is to document and summarize what worked well and what could be improved, then share those findings within your organization so that future projects (and project managers) can learn from successes or opportunities.
To learn more, you can find a variety of templates and articles on debrief sessions online. One article from the PMI blog describes how you can implement a lessons learned methodology in your organization (http://blogs.pmi.org/blog/voices_on_project_management/2009/03/lessons-learned.html). There are also many free lessons learned templates online for you to utilize.
(Editor’s note: See also Project “Post-Mortem” Review Questions on this website.)