Should You Debrief After Projects?

When you finish a project, do you tend to wrap up the session quickly and move on to the next, or do you take time with your team to evaluate your performance? Seasoned entrepreneurs know that taking the time to assess the results of previous projects will show them how to improve their process and bring the following benefits:

  • Help find a better way to do things
  • Help identify mistakes
  • Help the process become more efficient

When you have a thorough debrief with your team, you will learn what works and be able to develop a list of best practices. This streamlines the process so that when similar projects come down the pipeline, you will have a reference guide to accelerate completion.

Some questions to discuss with your project team:

  1. What worked?
  2. What didn’t work?
  3. What big risks did we take, and were they worth it?
  4. What would we do differently?

Post project, it’s a good idea to set an informal meeting with your team to collaborate. Designate one person to write down all suggestions and thoughts so that you have a clear template to follow.

What can your team do to improve?
Even if you nailed a project, still commit to building a list of action items that will take your next project from good to exceptional. Can you go further with customer service? Are you able to throw in a few extra perks at no extra charge? See what everyone has to contribute when it comes to making your company stand out.

Make a checklist.
After the project is complete, build an action items list that you can use for similar projects in the future. Action items are an important part of this process since it eliminates the errors of remembering something incorrectly. Going by a list facilitates consistency with your projects.
(If you haven’t read Atul Gawande’s The Checklist Manifesto you should pick up a copy – will help you tremendously with how to put a list together.)

Communicate results effectively.
There are three different types of communication: auditory, visual and kinesthetic.
Auditory learners need to hear the results of the project and future best practices spoken out loud. It’s a good idea to have the auditory learners repeat ideas back to you. Visual learners grasp concepts through diagrams, lists and charts, so use a meeting room with a white board that will allow them to draw out their ideas. Kinesthetic learners process through touch, so be sure to have hard copies of documents and templates available. Addressing each style of learning will ensure that everyone is clear about the results of the debrief.

This project debrief process is your opportunity to grow, learn and expand. How many small business owners actually take the time to do this? What results have you found? Share your comments – we’d love to hear your thoughts!

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