“Let me see the projects that you put in for review,” I said, as Sean handed over the list. I scanned down the page, “I see you selected six, tell me, how did you decide which ones for the group to do a post mortem on?”
Each quarter, Sean’s team spent four hours going over significant projects for the quarter, looking for lessons learned. “Oh, that was easy,” Sean replied, “these were the eight biggest money losers.”
“It is always tempting to debrief a project where things have gone wrong. Once you have corrected all those problems, where are you?” I asked.
“My guess is, we are back to even steven. No loss, no gain, no harm, no foul.”
“If you really want to make progress, you also have to analyze where things went right. Pick two or three winning projects to debrief. Find out why you were able to make significant margins. Where was the advantage in those projects? Where can you find more projects like those?”