What makes a Project Review successful?

It’s something our Technical Director Simon England discussed with colleagues in a team meeting last week. And it’s important, because such feedback loops are an important part of any improvement cycle or QMS. It’s something we do frequently at Plan A Consultants Ltd.

Our top ten considerations:

◼ Clear objectives and structure at the start. At Plan A we have developed a standard template; it is revisited time-to-time to ensure maximum effectiveness.

◼ Collate relevant project documents in advance, in our case that is the tools we use to manage design delivery. This will help contextualise the discussion.

◼ Encourage broad participation. All our Design Managers contribute to the reviews to ensure a wide range of viewpoints are captured, not just the senior staff. Where possible, involve the wider project team.

◼ Invite relevant people external to the project. This provides a fresh pair of eyes. At Plan A we encourage sector leads and those working with the same client to contribute comparative analysis.

◼ Probing questions and constructive criticism are essential. However, this should never get personal or judgemental. Mistakes do happen on projects and accountability is needed. Transparency and ownership are needed to help resolve these.

◼ Generate recommendations and follow up to ensure effective implementation.

◼ Don’t forget to table project successes and innovation, which are also relevant to any lessons learnt session.

◼ Reviews should also include the collaborative team’s performance, how they have been communicating and behaving.

◼ Timing is critical. Whilst we always capture a project in its first four weeks, the regularity thereafter will depend on the overall project duration and the number of challenges it faces.

◼ Record outcomes for future reference. Periodically compare results across different projects to see if there are common trends that need addressing.

At Plan A we share project lessons learnt regularly over lunch on a Friday. This end of project dissemination is important for recording outcomes, spotting trends, and making changes that benefit future projects.

Projects Practice