LSA Global Insights Newsletter: Top 7 Reasons to Run a Project Retrospective for Your Team

October 30, 2021

Top 7 Reasons to Run a Project Retrospective for Your Team

Most Work Today is Accomplished through Teams on Projects
Regardless of official titles, most clients tell us that the majority of their work is accomplished through projects and project teams.

That means they need to be confident and capable at coordinating work and stakeholders across different functions with varied, and often conflicting, needs, expectations, and pressures.

So how can you learn to be a better project manager? A better project team member? It all starts with understanding what is working and what is not working for your specific situation. 

Some Research
Research conducted by the Wharton School, Cornell, and the University of Colorado, found that prospective hindsight — imagining that an event has already occurred —increases the ability to correctly identify reasons for future outcomes by 30%.

So, wouldn’t it be fair to assume that a project retrospective, or project post mortem, done right, should improve future project outcomes by 30%?

We think so.

The Top 7 Reasons to Run a Project Retrospective with Your Team
Let’s start with the top reasons our clients run a project retrospective:

1. Set Up Future Projects for Success
Most leaders or project sponsors want to run a project retrospective to increase the odds that future projects and future project teams are set up to avoid past missteps and be better designed for success.

The process often occurs after a major project failure when it is critical that key lessons be learned.

2. Clarify Where Things Stand
Often project teams just need to get on the same page about the current situation. They need to come together to analyze and agree upon where things really stand before moving forward.

Do not underestimate the power of current state analysis during times of change and complexity.

3. Provide a Safe Forum for People to Be Heard
In general, people long to fit in, to feel appreciated, to be understood, and to connect with others on their project team. Especially after a long, challenging, and complex project, a project retrospective gives the team a forum to share perspectives and to acknowledge contributions.

Those three reasons are pretty obvious. Others may surprise you and pinpoint missed opportunities for improvement and alignment.

Eric Vernon
Director Of Operations 
Dolby Laboratories
"LSA recently designed and delivered a project post mortem for a highly strategic project with a group of 25 team members from engineering, design, marketing, product management, sales, manufacturing, purchasing, business development, research, and finance. The pre-workshop diagnostic, interviews, and experiential session exceeded our expectations.

We were able to honestly and effectively get everything out on the table, agree upon key lessons, and create a targeted action plan that made sense for our unique situation, team, and culture.

The whole process made a very complex and potentially political situation a big success. We could not have done the retrospective without LSA."

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