In project management there are specific phases to a project that follow a framework of success. The final phase is closing.In closing there are key task that must be accomplished and a post-implementation review is required at the end of a typical project (PMI 2008). The review after a project is critical to future success and the retrospective methodology has many key areas that enhance the project closure and review process. One key aspect is the use of an independent facilitator. This person is someone that is outside of the project that will be held accountable to identifying and implementing the lessons learned from the review. This places accountability on an individual and thus requiring more rigor and execution of their objectives. Most reviews come after the project is finally closed and if the project is multi-year or even over the course of six to nine months much of the lessons learned can be lost. During the course of the project, one key focal point of retrospective methodology is to have three in-process learning toll gates. Each tollgate gathers these issues and lessons and allows for immediate corrective action by the project team.
There is a key set of themes for the retrospective methodology. Each retrospective has an owner and the owner is the subject matter expert or has a high interest in the success of that area. This provides a desire and vaulted interest in the success of the project. All of the lessons learned and solutions to those areas of concern are kept in a knowledge management location where future project can access and utilize the knowledge gained by previous project teams. Last but not least, the retrospective methodology instills a continual and required use throughout all projects each of which feed off one another in perpetual usage and reliance.
Project Management Institute, P. M. (2008). A guide to the project management body of knowledge. (4th ed.). Newtown Square: Project Management Inst.