Post Mortems: Do Them Right or Don't Do Them At All

Joe Wynne is a versatile Project Manager experienced in delivering medium-scope projects in large organizations that improve workforce performance and business processes. He has a proven track record of delivering effective, technology-savvy solutions in a variety of industries and a unique combination of strengths in both process management and workforce management.

Attending a post mortem is usually as fun as having your teeth drilled without anesthetic. The name itself does not bode well for a meeting that is designed to improve the process used to complete projects. The sad thing is that this is the perfect time to set the stage for a new productive work environment. Instead, all too often an unproductive culture is nurtured.

It's easy to blame an individual as the cause of deviations from desired quality, cost or schedule, even though research has shown that the vast majority of these problems can be eliminated easily by improving the process. Certainly there might be a person at the point where something went wrong, but the sophisticated analysis shows that anyone in the position would have made the same decision--or missed the communication, or failed in the analysis, or created an inadequate design. A key success factor for workforce management is to optimize the processes through which individuals collaborate to add value to the organization.

For example, there are typically points where the interaction process allowed a deviation from optimum workforce performance. For example, there could have been

  • Insufficient guidance for best practice, e.g. quality expectations or amount of effort a task will take to complete
  • No standards
  • Inadequate standards
  • No relationship between stakeholders defined in a formal way

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