Posted by: Gilad Lev-Shamur | November 6, 2009

Project completion survey : how, why and when?

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The PMBOK defined the Lessons Learned as “The learning gained from the process of performing the project. Lessons learned may be identified at any point. Also considered a project record, to be included in the lessons learned knowledge base”

As it said, the lessons learned might be performed at any stage of the project (phase completion for example), but usually you can see it in the closing part of the project. If it’s done correctly, it includes inputs from all stakeholders, followed by relevant data: schedule and budget, quality reports and so on.

 Its can be done in many ways. Most of the times it will include a ‘summing’ meeting, which will include all parties inputs, presented in a – highlights, lowlights, things to improve-  style or something like that.

The most important usage of lessons learned is during the preparations for new projects. In this stage, the project manager should review archived L&L done for projects executed in the same organization, maybe similar to his project, learned from their mistake and improve his plans.

The project survey is an additional part to the basic lessons learned process which can improve inputs gathering and give another view about the project (and project manager) success.

When one of the projects under our PMO responsibility is completed, an anonymous survey is sent to all project stakeholders. The survey includes 10 questions in several subjects:  safety, schedule management, quality management, communication and so on. The survey questions are phrased to get inputs on the project manager (but of course they reflect the subjective opinions on the project success). Also it include open part in which everyone can write about things that went well, need to improve etc.   

 

We gather all the inputs (remind again the anonymity), calculate the results and sit with the project manager to give him feedback about his project. One way to present it is comparing the potential each questions could get to the actual score, and also give over-all score to the project. A graph which presents such comparison can be seen below:

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We also review with the project manager the open questions feedbacks. It’s important also to review the percentage of responses (to show that it’s not base on only one feedback…) 

We preferred to collect the survey’s results automatically. This automatic survey (generated by SharePoint) has few advantages. Among them:

  •  The anonymity gives opportunity to stakeholders to say exactly what they think.
  • Due to its automation, the project manager can get fast results.
  • The accumulate score or the scores trend, can use to analysis where you have problems or where you have winning PM (you can use it to recognize the highest score PM, which create healthy competition – improve professionalism)

One thing you must remember: the project survey should not replace a detailed L&L. It is just an addition to the basic L&L format , which give other view you can learned from.

Good Luck!

Gilad

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