Over my long career I’ve seen lots of things – the good, the bad and the downright dumb.
One thing that I consistently see done poorly is the post-action review process.
In my coaching conversations, I often hear stories of completed projects that didn’t meet expectations. Yet the review process was either non-existent or done badly.
One of my heroes, Sir Winston Churchill sums up it beautifully: “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
There seems to be two defining approaches to running and reviewing projects:
You either focus on the tasks and the process or the people and the relationships.
In the task world, the review process is about counting things and ticking them off. We did this, we did that, we…
This is usually a quick process because the result is black and white. We either did it or we didn’t.
In the people world, the review process is about reaching out to all the stakeholders and listening to what their experience was. What were your expectations? Did we meet them? Did we fail to meet them?
This is a much slower process because all the answers are grey. Everyone in the project has a different experience and a different opinion. This takes time to sort through to clarify what really worked and what really didn’t.
One approach looks at the spokes in the wheel, the other the space between the spokes.
While both approaches are useful, there is one most important question to ask that helps you decide which way to review your project: What are we going to do with what we learn?
If we don’t stop and review our day, week or project, then we fail to learn from it. And if we only review it without adjusting our future action then we’ve wasted the time spent reviewing.
Take some time today to review how your last day or week has been. And implement your insights tomorrow.
Send us a meesage and let me know what you discover.
PS: The after action review process is a key part of learning and growing your team and will be a focus in our upcoming Effective Facilitation Skills workshop.