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Another thing to remember in your project post-mortem: Don't forget the little guy! A successful project may involve participation and buy-in from staff members at all levels, from C-level on down to clerical staff. And more frequently than most people realize, it's the people in the rank-and-file that can see first-hand where those great ideas fail in their actual execution.
Winston Churchill said, "All men make mistakes, but only wise men learn from their mistakes." Here are four of the top dos and don'ts for a successful project post-mortem:
1. Establish a venue for sharing lessons-learned: It doesn't matter whether you call it a post-mortem, a project review or a project retrospective, most organizations don't do them - but they should.
2. Share what has been learned: Although most organizations don't bother with a project retrospective, those that do don't always create an environment that encourages real learning - and even fewer shares what was learned.
3. Don't make learning the next corporate initiative: It's natural for organizations to formalize the learning process into the next corporate project. Although the natural learning process should be encouraged, "corporate" is all too often the same as "bureaucratic," which employees will be more likely to avoid.
4. Don't make learning a one-time activity: Project learning should be ongoing and interactive- don't let it become an isolated activity that happens rarely.