Exercise 1: The variables are presented in the item, question, and answer format
Project retrospective is a structured session that aims to review the process and outcomes of a project. The session can occur in the form of a workshop or a meeting, and teams learn from the project process’s failures and successes to initiate improvements in the future. They allow the project team to inspect how the process works and develop adaptations for the future. Besides, the meetings dissect the project regarding relationships between members. They also prioritize significant items that were successful, the potential upgrades, and the creation of implementation plans for improvements in the following projects.
The standard retrospective meeting focuses on five questions; what were the goals, what happened, why it happened, and what the team would do about it. The first question recaps the purpose of the project and includes; goals, timelines, and budgets. The second question is the heart of the meeting, where members recall their activities in the field. This is done through sharing experiences between members and analyzing reports. The third step focus on the activities that worked and those that failed (Cullen, 2018). This is an essential part since the coordinator has to evaluate which questions to ask, how to accommodate all members and how to maintain decorum to prevent the meeting from shifting to a blame game. The last step contains specific plans for improvement on future projects. Retrospective thus ensures continuous improvement in the projects.
Comparison Between Project Retrospective and Lessons Learned
Project retrospective focuses on celebrating, learning, and improving tactics regularly. Most retrospectives are dedicated to discovering answers to three questions: what is working well, what is not working well, and what should be changed; thus, its primary function is to lead to project improvements. In contrast, lessons learned are not celebratory. Lesson learned focuses on assigning blame instead of and applications to improve future projects. They are deemed as meetings aimed at deconstructing each member’s mistakes. The team project leader is the only personnel authorized to coordinate project retrospectives. At the same time, lessons learned can be articulated by any key player in the project team since it does not invoke future references. Project retrospectives encompass opinions enshrined in action plans for future projects, while lessons learned consist of factual data from a completed project.
Lesson learned captures information that is used for posterity instead of immediate applicability. The information presented in a lesson learned meeting is meant for a different team or business issue instead of being relevant in the field in real-time. In contrast, the plan agreed on by the retrospective team applies to the current team and the current project. Retrospectives are deemed as lessons learned but with a purpose (Paulise, 2020). The agreed insights cycle to the following scheme to yield improved results.
Lessons learned also tend to focus on outcomes and deliverables more than the process. Lesson learned identifies successful and unfavorable events analyzed to provide data that aims to prevent the repeat of a failure. In contrast, project retrospective aims at improving the process as the members push to implement the agreed actions in the next project. Retrospective success is thus gauged by real change on immediate projects. The information captured helps teams stop what is not working and implement action plans to better the results.
Benefits of Project Retrospectives
Project retrospective enhances transparency and trust within the team. Project retrospective meetings operate on an open and transparent basis in discussing failures, successes, and improvement areas. The openness is deconstructing what happened during the project creates a sense of empowerment to the team members, which is beneficial to future project achievement (Diebold & Mayer, 2017). Project retrospective meetings also improve productivity by boosting team morale. The discussions regarding the feedback, success, failures, and brainstorming of solutions for the issues lead to improved team spirits and energy levels. Retrospective meetings enhance enjoyment as it acts as breeding grounds for team building where members can freely share and interact with each other through celebration. Project retrospectives also improve the project’s capability, capacity, and quality through continuous improvements. The improvements are flexible and easy to use, thus ensuring the action plan rhymes with the project’s purpose.