A few weeks ago, we held our first official post-mortem at ODEA. Following the meeting, we discussed what we felt worked great for our team and the things that were not-so-great. A post post-mortem, if you will. Here’s what we learned:
Make a list of questions
We have a vocal group at ODEA but we still wanted to make sure we had a short list (about five) of questions to open up the discussion. We started the conversation with those questions but allowed the discussion to stray from the list at times, which is okay! The questions are a great way to make sure you touch on the important things you want to cover but it’s also important to let the conversation flow naturally (as long as it’s productive!) We agreed that having the questions handy was helpful, especially if your group is quiet and needs a bit of guidance.
Keep an eye on the clock
When everyone has a million things to do, sticking to the time allotted for a meeting is important. We gave ourselves an hour for our first post-mortem and spent around 8-10 minutes on each topic or question that came up. When we started the meeting on time, it looked like we would finish within the hour. However, the last few questions really sparked conversation! While it was a great team discussion, it did mean that we blew through our timeline. In the future, we plan to make all team members aware that the facilitator may jump in when a topic needs to be tabled for another time.
Write down the weird stuff
Something that we plan to do better next time is coming up with specific examples. One of the tips from our podcast, “5 Tips for A Successful Post-Mortem”, was to write down anything that was unusual. (In our defense, we were nearly finished with our project when these tips were shared with us!) But we learned how important this step truly is. During our post-mortem, it was clear that some of us had a moment when there was a problem but couldn’t provide a specific example. For our next project, our team will be prepared with a list of thoughts, takeaways and questions to review so that specific examples will be at the ready.
In the end, we’re calling this post-mortem a win! We’re glad that we carved out the time in our busy schedules to reflect on a project, share experiences and make a list of improvements for next time. You can listen to episode 10 of Brain Lava to hear more about ODEA’s first post-mortem.
Has your team mastered the art of post-mortems? Or still trying to figure it out? We want to hear about it! Tell us all about it at [email protected].