I was facilitating a one-day workshop last week in the Hudson Valley area on how to run and manage a post-mortem meeting at the end of a project.  The first thing we discussed was the name ‘post-mortem’.  We all agreed that the name needed some work.


reviewIf you look it up, you will see that the term post-mortem is latin for “after death “, and originally referred to a medical examination of a corpse to determine the cause of death.


The group decided that we would embrace the term ‘Post Implementation Review’ or PIR.  So today we’re going to talk about your PIR’s.


Let’s start with admitting that none of us do this very well or even, unfortunately, at all. Once our projects are done we’re often flying onto the next project. Our team is dispersed and taking time to discuss the past does not seem to be a good use of anyone’s time.


We all know this is a big mistake.  There are so many good things that can come out of a PIR:

  • Process improvement that will benefit all projects
  • the use of tools
  • how we manage projects generally

and surprising to some:

  • our own professional growth as we learn about ways of being better project managers.

So here than are this week’s four tips for running better PIR’s.


  1. Sell the idea first. People may not want to attend so we should spend time selling the benefits of the meeting – convince people that this is a great thing to contribute to and it will benefit them and many others around.
  1. Be prepared. Go in prepared so that your gathering is constructive, productive and a great use of everyone’s time. Be ready with all the required information, start and end on time as scheduled, structure the meeting well and be organized from start to finish.
  1. Guide the process. This goes to the ‘structure’ comment above. Attendees should be guided through all the segments of the project and your project management process in a well-organized fashion. Thinking about what you did well and what needs fixing is a lot easier if you guide the conversation through each one of your project areas: scheduling in control, risk, tools, communication, issue resolution and more.
  1. Communicate the results. This is a reminder that the information can be very valuable to many people but that it has to be communicated properly. Too often we take these reports and file them away so that no one will ever read them again. Communicating the results means creating a plan as to where it goes, who will read it and a follow-up plan so that it doesn’t get lost in the future. Our PM 101-level Communication Plan would be a great tool at this time: who gets what, why, when, how and where? This will ensure that the vital information we’ve created will not be filed away forever.

Call it a PIR or post-mortem or lessons learned meeting – it really doesn’t matter. What does matter is that people understand its importance, enjoy contributing to its creation and that the information gets communicated to the right people.


When is your next PIR?  Are you ready?


Images Courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net


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