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Learning From Each Project

Profile picture for user Kirsten Sims
Kirsten Sims Designer
February 20, 2019

At the end of every project we host a team retrospective to review the project and document lessons learned. Sometimes team members are new to working together, sometimes they’re seasoned partners in the Drupal crusade. In these sessions, we pour out all the goodies and thoughts from our working silos. We share what we have learned, what’s new, what went well and what didn’t. Did we hit our targets? Did we stay within our timeline? Did the project come in on budget? If we went over estimates, why? We try to cover it all.

Tako at the conference room table


We take turns going around the table and define moments in the project that shape our lasting impressions of its overall performance. We wrap up with a large pause to absorb it all. Since we have such different working experiences, we often remember different highlights, and sometimes remember issues from completely opposite angles.

We focus on sharing this feedback in a constructive manner since harsh criticism can create stagnant energy. The goal is always to use our shared experiences to improve upon our processes. The three goals of a retrospective are to learn and improve our process, solidify team bonds, and gather tips and tricks for the next project.

Here are our Top 10 recent retrospective takeaways:

  1. Keep meetings to their scheduled time. Use a hard stop if needed.
  2. Encourage client collaboration and commitment to the project — it means everything.
  3. Build trust by making alliances with clients in the project kickoff.
  4. Kick off projects face-to-face when possible.
  5. Restate project goals at the beginning of every strategy meeting.
  6. Implement reusable design components.
  7. Loop developers in on designs before client presentation.
  8. Keep the same development team until launch.
  9. Be more critical of migration requests (too esoteric?).
  10. Have fun! The work always comes out better.

Here is our template for our project retrospectives. I hope you can use it for your teams to gather post-project insights.

Do you also wrap up projects with retrospectives? How do you structure these sessions?

 

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