A Simple Way to See If Your Project Was “Worth It”

February 3, 2016

Last week, we discussed the danger of jumping into projects before fully educating yourself. Click here if you missed it.

This week, we share the simple post-mortem process that we use after each event or project to determine if it was worth it. 

Read on for a list of questions that will help you press the easy button on your post-program evaluation efforts.

Level 1 Reaction: After the project is complete, can I say that it was “worth it?”

Even with full schedules, we are proud of the fact that we conduct a post-mortem after every event or project. For events that we replicate time after time, it may simply be a few minutes during a regularly scheduled team meeting to poll the team as to whether we learned anything new that should be taken into account for future events, or if we incurred unexpected costs that reduced the program benefit.

For major projects, the post-mortem is a stand-alone meeting during which we consider elements such as:

  • Did this contribute as much to our company/brand/clients/business as we thought it would? If so, why? If not, why not?
  • Did we follow our processes and systems, or were there breakdowns?
  • Did the processes and systems work for this project, or are there places we could modify or enhance?
  • Were there unexpected costs or benefits, either monetary or related to our team?
  • What was the overall reaction to this project? What early results do we see?
  • Was there any evaluation data that we did not use? Could we remodel or streamline future evaluation efforts for similar projects?
  • Should we do something like this again, or was it “worth it?” If so, what should we do more or less of to maximize results and minimize resources employed?

Obviously, if this is a major company initiative, you have built and implemented a full four levels evaluation plan and gathered and responded to data along the way. These questions serve as a simple list of how you might recap all programs in an efficient, resource-conscious way

We have found this structured approach to all demands on our time has made us less frantic. We make fewer mistakes and meet client needs better. We are happier because we aren’t drowning in chaos, and we can feel good about the quality of our work. That’s the great part.

The difficult part is when Jim and I, as the company leaders, need to say no to projects that have merit but don’t make it onto our short list. Some of you may have been on the receiving end of our (hopefully polite) refusal.

Action point: If you are not in the habit of reviewing completed programs, consider setting up a post-mortem process. Use what you learn to enhance future programs.Our New Year wish for you is that you are able to apply the same logic to doing less, and doing it better in 2016. If you thoughtfully select and prioritize the most important training programs for your organization, you can do each of them better. You will then have the precious resources available to evaluate and support them along the way, so in the end, you can say that you have contributed to the highest-level goals of your organization.

Join the Discussion

Do you think you’ll be able to apply the tips from this series as you plan your year? We would love to hear your thoughts. Here are some ways to join the conversation:

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Additional Resources

Kirkpatrick Four Levels® Evaluation Certification Program – Bronze Level

Training on Trial

Is Less Truly More?

How to Know If You’re Taking on Too Much

Why Your “Ready or Not” Mindset Could Be Your Downfall

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