Do you hold end of project reviews?

I am rarely surprised and I was not this time. I was with a group of people all eager to learn and taking on board all the key lessons to run their projects more effectively.

It was quite near the end of the course and I introduced the topic of project closedown and review. I asked my usual question; how many of you here have finished a project or a stage of a project? All hands shot into the air. How many of you have formally reviewed the project and looked at lessons learned? There were no hands in the air.

the end

I guess that made my job easier simply going through a check list for closing a project (or a stage). Interestingly, one person did say that from her point of view it was a lost opportunity as it did not allow the team to formally break up.

In fact it is a lost opportunity on so many other fronts:

  • publicising to others in the business the project has ended (or that stage has ended)
  • enabling to be formally released back into the business for other projects
  • learning from this project and for other people to learn from it
  • performance management – the opportunity for the project manager to feedback on a personal basis any specifics (positive and developmental) to project team members
  • to collate any outstanding work e.g payment of invoices, producing a summary of costs against budget, ensuring the project file is complete (be it on line or paper based)
  • checking with stakeholders that they have a satisfactory end product

There are many more which could be listed above however it does make me wonder why project teams do not run formal end of project reviews. I also wonder why the review is not built into the overall project plan so it happens.

Clearly, there are many benefits of holding end project reviews (a retrospective) so I am puzzled why they are not held.

Maybe you could tell me!