A post-mortem meeting is a time for the team to discuss what worked well, what didn't work so well and how they can improve. These meetings are crucial for improving workflow and moving forward with new ideas.
A productive post-mortem meeting should have clearly defined goals, an agenda of discussion topics, ground rules for respectful communication among all participants including the facilitator, and an evaluation at the end. This article provides a post-mortem meeting team agenda template that will help you create a successful post-mortem meeting that will provide your team with valuable feedback necessary to move forward in their projects.
What is a post-mortem meeting?
A post-mortem meeting is a time for the team to discuss what worked well, what didn't work so well and how they can improve. These meetings are common practice in situations where it is possible that something may go wrong with a project or if there is a need to quickly resolve an issue before it becomes problematic.
In a post-mortem meeting, the team is encouraged to share both positive and negative feedback with one another. The facilitator must ensure that all comments are received as intended - as constructive criticism as opposed to personal attacks. In order for this meeting format to be effective, some ground rules should be established beforehand.
Why should you run a post-mortem meeting?
A post-mortem meeting is a good way to keep your team on track, even when everything seems fine. These meetings are crucial for improving workflow and moving forward with new ideas. Asking the right questions will help you understand where improvements can be made so that they do not go unnoticed by the entire team.
What are some benefits of running a post-mortem meeting?
One of the greatest benefits is that it provides a way for teams to communicate with one another. When engaged effectively, this method will reveal some common struggles or concerns within your team. It is important that these issues are addressed in an open environment where everyone feels comfortable speaking up about what they have experienced. This often leads to better communication between team members, which in turn will help the entire team's workflow.
Learn from past experiences
When a project is finished, there are often things that could have been done better. In the end it is all about learning from past experiences to improve teamwork and workflow going forward.
Identifying these issues early on is better than waiting until a problem arises and needs to be resolved.
One of the main goals from any post-mortem meeting is to evaluate how well the project went. This includes both positive and negative aspects. Depending on what this evaluation suggests, a new course of action can be taken to continue improving workflow for future projects.
Increase team morale
When team members feel that they are an active part of the project, they will be more invested in its success. By encouraging open communication and listening to the feedback of all team members, you can help your team improve their relationships with one another which is good for morale.
When should you hold a post-mortem meeting?
There are several instances where you can benefit from holding this type of meeting:
- At the end of every project/iteration
- When something did not go as planned or did not happen at all
- Before getting started on a new project/iteration
What should be included in a post-mortem meeting?
There should be a clearly defined goal for the post-mortem meeting. For example, if there has been a problem with communication among team members, one goal of this meeting might be to find ways to improve communication processes among the team. Another example is if your project isn't going as planned - your goal may be to identify what has and hasn't been working well and brainstorm ways to resolve any issues.
The agenda for the post-mortem meeting should include discussion topics as well as how discussions will be managed by the facilitator. Some discussion topics may be:
Examples of questions you might hear in a post-mortem meeting:
- Have we communicated enough about this project?
- What are the biggest obstacles to completion?
- What are our next steps moving forward?
What is the role of the facilitator of the meeting?
The facilitator's role is to encourage open discussion and ensure that all feedback is constructive. They must also be impartial - making sure they own personal opinions do not interfere with the meeting process.
The agenda should also include how the facilitator will manage discussions. In order to be effective, you must ensure that everyone who wants a chance to speak has a turn and that no one dominates the conversation or interrupts another speaker. It is important for this meeting format to be professional and respectful toward one another so if anyone interrupts another speaker, the facilitator should remind them that they will have a chance to speak when it is their turn.
Some ground rules for the facilitator:
- Do not dominate the conversation.
- Do not interrupt speakers.
- Ensure equal speaking time for all participants and make sure everyone who wants a chance to speak has one.
- Enforce rules for respectful communication.
In order to effectively manage a post-mortem meeting, it is important for everyone to respect and adhere to the ground rules and the facilitator's instructions. It may be helpful to have a member of your team take notes during this process so that you can refer back to them later when making decisions about how to improve your processes.
At the end of the post-mortem meeting, it is good practice for team members to meet face-to-face and make note of their discussion topics and any decisions that were made during the meeting. This will be an effective way for you and your team to move forward and ensure you are all on the same page during the next iteration of your project.
Send a recap
After the meeting, send a recap of the meeting via email to all participants and ask them to let you know if they have any feedback about how things went. Be sure to include any action items that were discussed.