The power of retrospectives

Everyone can agree that kicking off a project well is one of the most important things you can do to ensure a project’s success. However, we don’t always give enough weight to continuing or ending a project well. Implementing project retrospectives can be an incredibly useful tool to help teams capture reflections on projects even as they’re happening. We have invested many hours per project to organise retrospectives for everyone in the team to get together purely to discuss how the project is going.

That’s the whole agenda.

If we’re working remotely, we all join a Mural board. If we’re in the office, we start adding post-it notes to a whiteboard. By doing this, we create the opportunity for the team to share and unpack everything – positives, the negatives, and the puzzling.

It is so easy to get stuck into project delivery and not have time to come up for air. We often underestimate how critical it is to have major reflection points at project milestones to call out issues as they arise. By prioritising reflection and retrospectives, we can prevent small issues and risks turning into major, costly problems.

Additionally, it is just as important to come together and acknowledge the things that are going well in a project while it is still in flight. Giving an audience to the ‘things that are going well’ can surge new energy into a project and give team members the motivation they need to see something to the finish line.

While it may not always be feasible or realistic to do retrospectives when a project is mid-flight, we stand by the power of retrospectives and the value they can add to delivery – whether it’s during a project, at the end of a project, or both, documenting lessons learned will always help your team to produce better outcomes in the future.