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How to Enact Process Change Using Project Retrospectives

Project retrospectives are more than just a review of the past. They are a strategic point during the project life cycle to discuss what is working and what needs to be improved. Retrospectives break the repetition of ineffective project management practices, provide the opportunity to solve immediate problems through rapid communication, and increase the probability of behavioral changes. Natalie Semczuk, in an article for the Digital Project Manager, lists five things that you can do to start making process changes after project retrospectives:

  1. Conduct a process inventory and map the retrospective feedback.
  2. Define and create a check-in schedule to monitor project improvements.
  3. Find a way to measure progress.
  4. Be transparent about goals and ask for help.
  5. Stay small to avoid being overwhelmed.

Reflection at Work

Retrospectives are never as exciting as a Hollywood blockbuster, but they can liven your day up. They explore aspects that are working well on a project, ensure that good practices are reinforced, and help you increase the effectiveness of your team. All you need is to look at your project path, from kickoff to launch, review what skills your team used to implement the ideas, how much collaboration or independent work was done, if there were internal hand-offs, and how all of these fit within each stage of the project development life cycle. Retrospectives shouldn’t be a one-time event at the end of a project either. You and your team should reconvene at junctures during the project life cycle to catch up with the development process, and monitor the overall progress.

It’s good to identify problems and create plans to work on them, but make sure that these plans are always active. Sometimes, plans are created and left in a corner for good. Measure your team’s progress by framing your goals in a measurable manner and updating with your team regularly how far you’ve succeeded at achieving the goal, or how much is needed in order to reach that point. Especially, be transparent and realistic in communicating the goals with your team. It’s good to set ambitious goals, but they should be both achievable and measurable.

Last but not least, be patient—don’t rush. Semczuk writes about this:

While this might seem at odds with the rest of this somewhat intense advice, take this to heart: change takes time. It’s difficult. It can become overwhelming if not looked at in tiny steps. Meaningful changes to your processes starts with a commitment to small steps. You will never be able to overhaul a whole process all at once, successfully and consistently.

You can view the original article here: http://www.thedigitalprojectmanager.com/make-process-change-happen-using-project-retrospectives/

About My Nguyen

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My is a staff writer for AITS. She has a varied background in writing and marketing, having previously worked for the World & Vietnam Report among others.

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