Preparation for a Project Review Meeting

The basic agenda for any project review should cover the following questions:

  • How did the project schedule work for the team?
  • How effectively were resources applied to the project?
  • What strengths and weaknesses of each project phase can team members identify?
  • What did not work well on the project?
  • What suggestions can team members make to improve the overall process?
  • What recommendations would team members make for future projects?

The questions listed above do not necessarily have to be addressed in any particular order in the project review process; however, they are essential starting points for any project review. Typically, Program Management should arrange the project review process and timeline before the actual review process takes place, and add any additional questions or issues, tailored specifically to the project, to cover in the review.

All team members involved in the project should feel free to reflect on their involvement, roles, percent of time spent on the project, dates involved, and so forth. Typically, the project review timeline acts as a vehicle to focus people on the entire project, rather than the final project stages or their exclusive roles in the project.

For most projects, the process and agenda should be distributed a week in advance, along with recommended issues for the team to contemplate when preparing for the actual review. The team members may want to respond before the actual meeting or meetings to allow Program Management to further organize the project review and distribute a project observation list.

For a small or informal review process, the team may simply consider a review agenda and mention their observations at a single review meeting. It is beneficial for the team to look over reviews from earlier projects, to help set the team's expectations.

Facilitating the Meeting

It is often beneficial to have an individual outside of the project team facilitate the review meeting. Otherwise, the Program Management team lead should identify a facilitator for any review meetings, as Program Management is ultimately responsible for facilitating the review process.

The facilitator should maintain order and structure in the meeting, and also ensure that the team members remain focused and do not personally attack one another. The facilitator should also make sure that all agenda items are covered, that everyone is equally involved in discussions, and that the meeting is conducted within the appropriate time frame.

Recording the Discussion

Ideally, the project review discussion should be recorded so that all team members can observe what's being written. Large sheets of flipchart paper taped on the meeting room's walls, computers, and whiteboards can all be effective means of recording the meeting.

Recording the discussion is effective because everyone involved focuses on the information itself instead of on one another, helping keep the discussion on track. Creating new documents during a review meeting is also excellent in facilitating the meeting because they offer an alternative means for which to handle unrelated topics or tangents—the recorder simply writes off-subject ideas on a separate sheet of paper. That way, valid ideas aren't lost, but they don't defocus the team's discussions pertinent to the set agenda, either.

In addition, recording comments prompts team members to voice their thoughts more concisely and to avoid repeating issues already documented. Lastly, it's often beneficial to provide an objective recorder not directly involved with the project. Thus, the recorder can focus on capturing information, while not necessarily analyzing thoughts as they are presented.

Microsoft Corporation - Analyzing Requirements and Defining Solutions Architecture. MCSD Training Kit
Microsoft Corporation - Analyzing Requirements and Defining Solutions Architecture. MCSD Training Kit
Year: 1999
Pages: 182 © 2008-2017.
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