What to do at the end of a project?
Three things: evaluation, celebration and adaptation.
Especially the last one: big deal.
Here they are; quick & dirty.
By evaluation we mean looking back at ourselves, the team and the process, and learn from our past experiences. To learn. To improve.
Sounds probably like an open door. We evaluate a lot, in organizations.
But does it change anything?
Because of repetitive standard evaluation forms and questions.
Because only a one-sided perspective is involved.
Because of looooooong boring question lists.
Because only numbers are taking into account (the result always ends up in a sufficient reasonable number right? How suprising!;-)
Or, because questions are asked just to get complements and beautiful quotes (please then don’t call it an evaluation).
But they main cause: there is no action after the evaluation.
Evaluations should lead to improvement or change. If results of evaluations are not acted on, the learning process ends and results have no value. Then the wheel just will be re-invented by someone else, no improvement will take place and mistakes will be repeated. As Thomas Edison said: “Vision without execution is hallucination”. So, the power of evaluation is to put the results into action. Identify the lessons learned, think of smart solutions to change the future and then act on it: apply it all so that real changes will happen. (*)
Do we really have to explain this subject? ;-)
The end of a project is the time to celebrate it all – big time.
Celebrating every tiny thing that is achieved and learned.
Celebrate the harvest.
Official closure, recognition and above all: experience the value of fun and play. (**)
Once a solution (whatever it may be) has become part of everyday practice, it is easy to lose sight of effect and impact.
Implementation done. Project closed.
A big pitfall is: failure in adaptation.
You simple cannot predict how things will turn out. Perhaps the best known example is the butterfly metaphor of Edward Lorenz (chaos theory); movements of a butterfly in Brazil cause a tornado in Texas. Solutions often have unexpected consequences, they can be used a different way or will not cause the effect as expected. The Internet, for example, has not led to a reduction in traffic or paper consumption. And did you know that the first car was presented as a solution for environmental pollution? (instead of the horse poo…) (***)
We just cannot know in advance. We cannot predict.
In our rapidly changing world you’d better assume that many solutions have a short lifespan.
And you can prolong the life of the solution by continuous monitoring.
If the solution is implemented and has been activated, keep on monitoring asking yourself: “Does it still fit?” Ensure that all continues to work well and that the solution is continuously adapted to reactions and changes.
Over and over again, until the ‘fit’ is so bad that a completely new solution or approach is needed.
The ‘last’ stage of Plan B is called B Adaptive, and it exists of these three things: evaluation, celebration and adaptation.
Actually, you cannot call this the last stage. Because, when the ‘fit’ is too bad, a new Plan B process starts; this makes Plan B a cyclical process.
For now, just never forget: B Adaptive. Always.
1) BTW At Plan B, we evaluate a lot. Depending on the project. At the end of every stage, every month, or even – when it’s needed – at the end of every week or meeting.
2) BTW At Plan B, we celebrate a lot. Depending on the project. At the end of every stage, every month, or even – when it’s needed – at the end of every week or meeting ;-)
3) Daphne got this from Jos de Mul – he told this in class once