A Gathering is not Productive

After what I considered a very successful project, the planned Lessons Learned meeting made me sit down and collect my thoughts. What did I want to share? What did I want to pass on to the organization that would make people think, ‘Ah-ha! Excellent idea!’?

That is what I was after. I did not want to dwell much on the negative aspects of the project, as I felt there were really very few. I wanted to remember those ‘genius’ moments where issues were quickly solved, dilemmas were smoothed over and hiccups were ironed out.

I assumed there would be others who felt the same, who wanted to add something to the body of knowledge related to these types of projects within the organization. What a dreamer I was!

Our gathering of minds, for what was supposed to be a project closure and lessons learned, went like this: hand in any artifacts, and now let’s celebrate…and that was about it. Our fearless leader did voice accolades for various people and groups, but the meeting fell well short of my expectations, which consisted of a deep, introspective analysis of the good, bad and ugly.

I was sorely disappointed. I am still mulling the lack of event over.

I realized Lessons Learned meetings may be something that drives me but few others, and I have to respect the personas of the rest of the team. I ended up sending in a revised document on all that I wanted to be archived, but I did not feel the release that I had expected.

The reason I do retrospectives is to ensure everyone has spoken out about their concerns, human resource issues and accolades for any and all parties. I want people to get ‘it’–whatever it is–off their chests. This is a surprisingly good way to release stress. Let your staff talk about the project, the bad first and then the good.

My team is happy, but my sponsor missed that golden opportunity to shine as a leader who has the vision to see the long term benefits.

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2 Responses to “A Gathering is not Productive”

  1. 1 lukemcbain August 13, 2010 at 8:38 pm


    it reminds me of research that was done on creativity as an outcome of group interaction. You might want to look into that, second part of the post:




    • 2 davega99 August 26, 2010 at 6:33 pm

      The mentioned site was a good summary of the issues surrounding creativity in group meetings. Many people are unable or fearful of expressing themselves, especially in a big group meeting such as the one mentioned in this article.

      I will look into extending this article as you mentioned, thanks for your input.


      David Egan

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