This website was created on Editor X.

Stay up on the latest trends and insights for agencies

Business email

Enter a valid email address

Stay up on the latest trends and insights for agencies

Please indicate that you have read and agree to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

Build your future-proof business with us

Create, manage and grow your business. Get full support, matched with leads and earn revenue share in the Partner Program.

How to make your post-mortem meetings impactful [agency guide]

Updated: Nov 16, 2021

Agency team members talking to each other in a post-mortem meeting

We’ve all experienced it—that sigh of relief after finishing a challenging project. Once it’s done, we’re quick to move on to the next thing. But how can your agency grow without evaluating the obstacles your team faced in the past?

Every completed project is an opportunity to gather data, analyze performance and discuss the areas in your workflow you can improve. The best way to do this is by conducting post-mortem meetings.

What is a post-mortem meeting?

A post-mortem meeting is a gathering of team members and your client stakeholders at the end of a project so you can give feedback and improve your agency’s workflow. During these meetings, your team discusses what worked, what didn’t work and what should be changed for future projects. Throughout these post-mortem meetings you’ll build knowledge of your agency’s work process and learn how you can improve for the next project.

The benefits of post-mortem meetings

As an agency, you may be hesitant to bring your clients and team members together to talk about what didn’t work in a project, but it’s one of the best ways your business can learn and grow.

Here are 7 benefits you’ll gain from conducting post-mortem meetings with your team:

  1. Celebrate achievements

  2. Learn from mistakes

  3. Empower employees to speak up

  4. Promote a positive workplace

  5. Improve teamwork

  6. Share new ideas

  7. Build strong client relationships

Celebrate achievements

It’s not just a meeting to talk about what can be improved, such as missed deadlines. In all likelihood, you’ve done many things well. Celebrate the wins that happened during the project—whether it was tackling a difficult design or increasing your client’s conversions.

Learn from mistakes

Even if it seemed like everything in your project went according to plan, there’s always room for improvement. Ask each person from your team for specific examples on what can be changed or improved. When you find out what went wrong, you’ll find better ways to work.

Empower employees to speak up

A group of people can go through the same situation and come out of it with different feelings and opinions. Every opinion matters. Encourage everyone to share their thoughts and ideas. Doing this will empower them to speak openly and make them feel as an equal part of the project.

Promote a positive workplace

Talking through problems and celebrating wins brings teams closer and motivates everyone for the next project. Your employees will be thinking of how they can contribute, and your clients will be confident in your leadership.

Improve teamwork

By listening to many perspectives, your team will become more open to each other’s ideas and figuring out ways to meet client demands, together. This also helps your clients see your collaborative approach.

Share new ideas

During a project you or your team members may come up with new ways to do your work. This meeting is a great platform for you to share those ideas. Plus, you can create a plan of action moving forward.

Build strong client relationships

Including your client in a post-mortem meeting is a good final step for managing the feedback process. This allows your client to get a full understanding of the work your agency does. You’ll hear what worked and what they want to change for the future. Your client will also feel like they’re a part of the team, which will strengthen your relationship and boost overall client satisfaction.

Your guide to running a successful post-mortem meeting

Having an organized post-mortem meeting is an integral part of every project. When they’re done correctly, they can help your agency grow significantly from project to project. Plus, they can be used to improve your overall client satisfaction.

Here are some guidelines you can follow when organizing and operating a successful post-mortem meeting:

Prepare for your post-mortem meeting

Send out a pre-meeting survey to your team and client

Everyone benefits when they have some time to prepare. Send out a survey in advance to get quick and honest feedback that can be used during the post-mortem meeting. When creating your survey questions, keep in mind the aspects of your client project: overall communication, project kick-off and management, content sharing and problem solving. Be sure to include both quantitative questions (yes/no answers and rankings) and qualitative questions for open-ended, specific comments.

Create an agenda for your post-mortem meeting

Keep the meeting up to one hour and help participants stay on task by using an organized agenda.

Use these guidelines when creating an agenda for your post-mortem meeting:

  1. Restate that the meeting is all about feedback—good and bad Remind your team this meeting is to share their opinions and thoughts about the project and work process.

  2. Recap the project Restate the initial expectations, how you and your client measure success and which project goals you achieved. The more transparent you are with the results, the easier you make it for your client. For example, your client may acknowledge that their unplanned changes slowed down deliverables.

  3. Highlight the wins Celebrate the tasks that were accomplished during the project. This will encourage your employees and build confidence.

  4. Open the discussion to all feedback Start with answers provided in the survey you sent to your team and clients. Encourage your team and clients to speak up. If it’s slow-going, share your own comments and ask if anyone agrees or disagrees. Dig deeply enough to get to the “why” of positive and negative outcomes.

  5. End on a positive If you want a team that’s motivated to do even better next time, and a client that believes in you—show your appreciation. Make it personal and positive.

Use baselines as a starting point

A baseline is the starting point for your project’s plan. It’s a point of reference used to measure the progress of your project. In project management, there’s typically three baselines: cost, schedule and scope. Setting these baselines before a project starts will help you compare your results once it’s completed. These results are a good reference to share during your post-mortem meeting.

Create a presentation