How To Run an Effective Post-Mortem Meeting

Completing a project is a wonderful feeling. But regardless of your success, assessing your project with your team will help you do things better when the next project comes around, and it will allow you to identify issues and opportunities. A post-mortem meeting is a great tool for continually improving processes, team collaboration, and streamline workflow.

Get started now

What Is a Post Mortem Meeting?

A post-mortem meeting is conducted by gathering relevant information from people involved in a project after one is completed and evaluating the different aspects of the project. During this process, you’re going to look at what went well as well as what didn’t go so well. 

Commonly, some things don’t turn out as planned when conducting a project. And even if you manage to finish on time and under budget, there’s always a possibility that some aspects of your project could have been improved. The best way to assess your work is by conducting a project post-mortem meeting, where the idea is to go over all of the different aspects, to make sure that the things that went well continue to happen next time and the things that didn’t go so well are improved for next time.

What Are the Benefits of a Post-Mortem Meeting?

Post-mortems can substantially benefit your team, your stakeholders, and your clients because it helps you analyze and improve all aspects of a project after it’s finished. For this reason, they shouldn’t be treated as a luxury. And even though they take time and resources, the truth is, post-mortem meetings are a crucial part of the project’s life-cycle, and choosing to skip them can hurt future outcomes for your team and your company.

Some of the most common benefits of post-mortem meetings are:

  • Improve efficiency: By reviewing your work you’re going to be able to benefit from just discussing the project and each of the different aspects that you had to go through. You’ll be able to make sure that you’re more efficient and more effective when a similar project or even a different project comes up the next time around by identifying areas of improvement. 

  • Boost team communication: By talking and listening to each other, you’ll help bring your team closer together and improve everyone’s awareness of what everyone else is up to.

  • Improve team morale: By discussing where you succeeded, you’ll be celebrating your team’s effort. Your team is going to feel better about what was accomplished and they’re going to be happier about getting back out there and doing it all again.

  • Learn from mistakes: Reviewing your project will help you work out what went wrong and make sure it doesn’t happen again. By discussing issues, you and your team can figure out more creative and effective ways of dealing with the bad, and how these issues can be avoided in the future. Whether you had minor problems or major ones, it’s important to evaluate the things that went wrong and come up with improvements and better opportunities for the future. 

  • Get closure: Holding a post-mortem meeting is also a collaborative way to officially end a project and give everyone a final chance to have a final say. But this is also a great time to celebrate as well: so, once everything has been discussed, take the time to enjoy what has been accomplished.

  • Share information: Sharing the meeting outcome with the rest of your team and the company will help everyone else understand why your project went well (or why it didn’t). Being transparent with the rest of the company also plays a crucial part in improving organizational communication and it helps to build rapport and boost morale.

Components of a Post-Mortem

When conducting an effective post-mortem meeting, good organization is the key to success. So, it’s a great idea to keep in mind the following key talking points beforehand so that you always have a sense of direction and an agenda. Address the following questions:

  • What went right during the project that we can repeat in the future?
  • What went wrong, and how can we avoid it in the future?
  • What should we do differently next time?

Also, keep in mind that the data being analyzed during the post-mortem meeting will include inputs from different sources, including feedback from the project team and an evaluation of the project’s results. The analysis results should contain the following:

  • A full list of issues to address 
  • Crucial issues that held the project back
  • Successes that helped the project 
  • Lessons that require action
  • The person accountable for implementing each action item

Post-mortem Template

Holding a post-mortem meeting should feel easy, and you can customize your plan as you go on but here’s a good place to start.

  • Choose a day that the whole team is present with clear schedules. The goal is that everyone can be seen and heard.
  • Allow every member to give high-level thoughts of how the project went or what could be improved in the future. 
  • Present and discuss any analytics collected. Data collected can include deadlines, budget, impressions, etc.
  • Set goals together for the next project. Take the lessons while working on this project and discuss what you can do moving forward to apply new findings to make the next project even better.
  • Follow up on the meeting. It’s important to share with everyone involved what has been learned and discussed.

A well-practiced project post-mortem can truly help any team. And the good news is it doesn’t have to be as difficult as you might think. You just need to make sure that you have a way of getting the right people together and that you have a good way of organizing the information you need to collect. And of course, one of the best ways to plan and execute is by building a Gantt chart

Gantt charts software can be of great help when conducting post-mortem meetings. An online project management software such as Instagantt can help you plan, conduct, and store what was discussed during your post-mortem meetings. You will be able to easily categorize your successes as well as your improvement points. Most importantly, you will be able to collaborate and follow up with your team, allowing them to actively participate in the process. This way, information becomes available for everyone, right now and in the future, too.

Post-Mortem Meeting

Post-Mortem Meeting Example

Ready to simplify your project management?

Start managing your projects efficiently & never struggle with complex tools again.