Three Tips For Better Post-Mortems

As I’ve mentioned before, post-mortems are a critically important mechanism for driving continual improvement. Below are three tips for improving post-mortems themselves:

Assign ownership – when areas for improvement come out of improvement, assign ownership of them. Of course, you may not know the exact next steps required, but clear ownership empowers the owner to take the required actions.

Don’t truncate the list – it can be tempting to focus on the major items coming out of a post-mortem, but this can mean overlooking some ‘low-hanging fruit’ and demoralizing those who submitted ideas that didn’t make the cut. Go as far down the list as you can.

Be transparent – post-mortems are a tricky topic, sometimes they find errors, and certainly things that could have gone better. However, this is best addressed by openness and transparency.

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