Stop Conducting Project Post-Mortems

Dr. Andrew Makar is an IT program manager and is the author of the Microsoft Project Made Easy series. For more project management advice, visit the website

Project teams should simply stop conducting post-mortems and stop wasting time facilitating lessons learned workshops. When I first heard these words I thought it would’ve been considered blasphemy to the PMBOK editorial staff. Undoubtedly the Project Management Institute would revoke PMP certifications on the spot if they found the speaker (ahem…culprit) uttering such nonsense. To think I heard these words of advice at a PMI Seminars World conference was even more surprising. With my curiosity peaked, I listened a little bit more.
I was attending a seminar course sponsored by the PMI Seminar’s World on practical advice for successful project management. I was interested in taking the course to compare notes and learn from other project managers and their real-life battle stories implementing project in the trenches.
The speaker started one of his lecture topics asking the audience how many project managers conducted post-mortems or lessons learned workshops during the project close phase. Like all process conscious PMP-certified project managers, 99 percent of the class raised their hands. The speaker then asked how many project managers review a lessons-learned repository prior to initiating their next project to incorporate best practices. A large portion of the raised hands quickly fell amongst stifled snickers and humbled smiles. …

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