With postmortems, some common losing battles:
- “My thing is more complicated”
- “My thing was under-resourced”
- “We didn’t have enough time”
- “We should have built more automated testing earlier” — usually, you know that it was failing and investing time in testing would not have helped
You will be more successful with:
- “We should have decreased scope in X way”
- “We could have de-risked by doing X”
Other failure modes:
- Assuming simplicity in someone’s domain
Other things I’ve learned recently:
- Even if you are not responsible for implementing change, you can be responsible for highlighting problems and sharing the state of the world, and shining a light, even if it is embarrassing.
- One of the most useful things you can do is have data that is presented well.
- There’s a difference between saying “Ok, I agree” and then feeling responsible for the risks vs. saying “Ok, I agree, but here are the risks” and having the peace of mind that you pointed out all the problems (and that your party is also aware of these problems)
Love this! Especially: “Even if you are not responsible for implementing change, you can be responsible for highlighting problems and sharing the state of the world, and shining a light, even if it is embarrassing.” How true is that?! And a great PM or even people manager will appreciate those who do have this outlook.
This is a very insightful post. Transparency is key when dealing with stakeholders.
Thanks for sharing.