Skip to main content

22 Post-Mortem Templates For Your Next Workshop

parabol-23-post-mortem-ideas (1)

The term “post-mortem” may bring up images of somber gatherings and forensic investigations, but in project management, it’s a far more constructive affair. A post-mortem is a review held after completing a project to learn from what went well and what went wrong.

While projects, like people, typically have post-mortems when something has gone horribly wrong, you don’t have to wait for disaster to strike.

By holding a post-mortem at the end of every project โ€“ regardless of the outcome โ€“ your team can quickly improve from analyzing completed work, much like athletes reviewing game footage for strengths and weaknesses in their performance.

This article provides 22 post-mortem templates for your next workshop, each crafted for different situations and problems your team might face:

Project (management) post-mortem templates

These post-mortem templates let your team dissect projects with the precision of a pathologist, uncovering lessons and insights from each phase. They help you navigate challenges, optimize resource allocation, and fine-tune timelines so you can learn from mistakes and do better next time.

1. Budget post-mortem

Analyze money decisions to boost your future financial success

Unleash your inner CFO and dive deep into resource allocation and budget management matters. By evaluating the effectiveness of financial decisions and finding areas for improvement, this template sets your team on the path to sound budgets in future projects. Leave no penny on the table as you optimize spending and resource distribution.

Post-mortem questions of this template:

  • ๐Ÿ’ฐ How did our actual spending compare to the initial budget? Compare your project’s financial performance against the planned budget.
  • ๐Ÿ“Š What were the major cost drivers? Identify factors that most impacted your project’s financial performance.
  • ๐Ÿ’ผ Where can we make adjustments for better budget allocation? Determine opportunities to optimize spending and allocate resources more effectively.

๐ŸŒŸ This post-mortem template is perfect for:

  • Evaluating your project’s financial performance.
  • Improving financial management and resource allocation with a CFO mindset.

2. Control range post-mortem

Optimize future projects by focusing on factors within your team’s control

The control range post-mortem takes a page from ancient Stoic philosophy, distinguishing between factors your team can influence and external elements beyond their control. By concentrating on areas where your team can make a difference, you’ll develop valuable insights for improvement.

Post-mortem questions of this template:

  • ๐ŸŽ›๏ธ What was within our control? Identify factors your team could influence or manage.
  • ๐ŸŒช๏ธ What was beyond our control? Recognize external forces affecting the project but outside your team’s influence.
  • ๐Ÿ“ˆ What can we improve in our control range? Determine areas within your control to adjust for future projects.

๐ŸŒŸ This post-mortem template is perfect for:

  • Uncovering actionable insights.
  • Differentiating between internal and external factors.

3. Process improvement post-mortem

Assess and enhance your workflows for peak effectiveness and efficiency

The process improvement post-mortem is your team’s gateway to becoming a well-oiled machine. By examining your project’s methodologies, workflows, and procedures, you’ll uncover hidden bottlenecks and areas where you shined. 

Turn the spotlight on your processes and guide your team to discover best practices for future projects, boosting effectiveness and efficiency.

Post-mortem questions of this template:

  • ๐Ÿ”„ What processes worked well during the project? Find the successful aspects of your project’s workflows and methodologies.
  • โš ๏ธ What processes could be improved? Pinpoint areas where your project’s procedures faced challenges or fell short.
  • ๐Ÿ”ฌ What innovations or creative solutions emerged during the project? Identify any inventive methods or ideas that proved beneficial.
  • ๐Ÿ“ How can we optimize our workflows for future projects? Develop strategies to enhance processes and adopt or update best practices.

๐ŸŒŸ This post-mortem template is perfect for:

  • Streamlining workflows and methodologies for future projects with an eye on peak performance.
  • Finding and defining best practices.

4. Simple post-mortem template

Get straight to the point with this concise approach

The simple post-mortem offers a straightforward way to review your project. Through brevity and clarity, this meeting format allows your team to quickly evaluate what went well and what you could do better in the future.

Post-mortem questions of this template:

  • โœ… What went well during the project? Highlight the successful aspects of the project.
  • โŒ What could be improved for future projects? Identify the projectโ€™s challenges and issues.
  • ๐Ÿ“ What actions can we take to address these improvements? Outline actions to boost future projects.

๐ŸŒŸ This post-mortem template is perfect for:

  • Conducting a quick and efficient project evaluation.
  • Simplifying the post-mortem process for busy teams or small projects.

5. Agile post-mortem template

Embrace the spirit of Agile for continuous improvement and better teamwork

The Agile post-mortem tests your team’s commitment to Agile principles such as adaptability, iteration, and collaboration. This template helps unlock your team’s potential for continuous improvement and reinforces the spirit of Agile in every project, leading to better teamwork and adaptability.

Post-mortem questions of this template:

  • ๐Ÿ”„ How well did we adapt and iterate throughout the project? Evaluate your team’s ability to respond to changes and implement iterations during the project.
  • ๐Ÿค How effective were our collaboration and communication? Assess your team’s quality of teamwork, information sharing, and cooperation.
  • ๐ŸŽฏ What Agile principles can we improve upon for future projects? Find areas where your team can strengthen their application of Agile methodologies.

๐ŸŒŸ This post-mortem template is perfect for:

  • Evaluating the effectiveness of Agile principles in your project.
  • Reinforcing the spirit of Agile and improving teamwork in future projects.

6. Time management post-mortem

Master the art of timekeeping for optimal productivity and punctuality

The time management post-mortem helps your team allocate time and handle deadlines with clockwork precision. During this exercise, you reflect on your project’s time-related triumphs and tribulations to create a smoother, more efficient journey in future projects.

Post-mortem questions of this template:

  • โฑ๏ธ How accurate were our initial time estimates? Gauge the precision of your team’s time forecasts and compare them to the actual time invested in project tasks.
  • ๐Ÿ“… Which tasks took longer than expected, and why? Identify tasks that required more time than anticipated and discuss the reasons behind this.
  • ๐Ÿšง What obstacles impacted our time management? Uncover the factors that caused delays or inefficiencies in the project and learn from them.
  • โš™๏ธ What strategies can we implement to improve time management in future projects? Develop action plans to master time allocation and scheduling, boosting your team’s productivity and punctuality.

๐ŸŒŸ This post-mortem template is perfect for:

  • Supercharging productivity and time management in projects.
  • Minimizing delays and refining project scheduling practices.

Technical and engineering post-mortem templates

These templates address the unique complexities of technical projects and dive into the nuts and bolts of your work. You’ll refine your team’s technical skills and construct a stronger foundation for future projects by analyzing your engineering feats and missteps.

7. IT post-mortem template

Assess an IT project and future-proof your technology stack

The IT post-mortem unravels the mysteries of your technology stack. Review the performance of tools and platforms, and unveil gaps and challenges you may have encountered during your last project. With this insightful exploration, you can future-proof your IT setup, making it more resilient and ready for upcoming projects.

Post-mortem questions of this template:

  • ๐Ÿ’ป Which technology tools and platforms were most beneficial during the project? Identify the most valuable and effective components of your technology stack.
  • ๐Ÿ”ง What gaps or challenges did we face in our IT infrastructure? Recognize any technology-related issues or shortcomings.
  • ๐Ÿ“ˆ How can we enhance our technology stack for future projects? Formulate strategies to upgrade your IT infrastructure and tools, considering the insights from this post-mortem.

๐ŸŒŸ This post-mortem template is perfect for:

  • Detecting hidden gaps and challenges in your technology stack.
  • Creating a resilient and future-ready IT infrastructure for upcoming projects.

8. Software project post-mortem template

Gather insights from your software project’s lifecycle

Transform your post-mortem into an exploration of your coding efforts. Youโ€™ll revisit the development, testing, deployment, and maintenance phases, hunting for lessons learned you can turn into best practices for future software projects.

Post-mortem questions of this template:

  • ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ’ป How did our development process perform during the project? Assess the effectiveness and efficiency of your software development process.
  • ๐Ÿ”Ž How successful were our testing and quality assurance efforts? Evaluate the thoroughness and accuracy of your testing and QA processes.
  • ๐Ÿš€ How smoothly did our deployment and maintenance procedures go? Review the efficiency and success of your software deployment and maintenance.

๐ŸŒŸ This post-mortem template is perfect for:

  • Evaluating the various stages of your software project.
  • Identifying best practices for software development and deployment.

9. Engineering post-mortem template

Investigate your engineering project’s design, execution, and technical challenges

The engineering post-mortem enables your team to appraise the project’s design, execution, and technical challenges. This template creates a roadmap for engineering excellence, guiding future projects toward success.

Post-mortem questions of this template:

  • ๐Ÿ“ Did our project design and planning meet expectations? Assess how your project’s design and planning helped meet your engineering goals.
  • ๐Ÿ”จ How well did we execute the project and overcome technical challenges? Assess your team’s ability to manage the project and tackle technical obstacles.
  • ๐Ÿค“ What nuggets of wisdom can we mine for future engineering projects? Identify best practices, areas for improvement, and other insights to optimize future engineering projects.

๐ŸŒŸ This post-mortem template is perfect for:

  • Venturing into the technical core of your engineering project.
  • Mining for best practices and areas ripe for improvement.

Risk and incident management templates

These post-mortem templates illuminate risks and root causes, fortifying your projects against future challenges. Through proactive problem-solving and strategic risk mitigation, these post-mortems ensure your team always stays one step ahead.

10. Post-mortem analysis template

Review project performance for a future-proof strategy

The post-mortem analysis template offers a comprehensive assessment of your project’s performance, focusing on critical aspects that contributed to the outcomes. Revisit the peaks and valleys of your work, using the lessons learned to chart a path to future success.

Post-mortem questions of this template:

  • ๐ŸŽฏ What were our project’s objectives, and did we achieve them? Re-examine your project goals and evaluate your performance against them.
  • ๐Ÿ“‰ What challenges or obstacles did we face? Identify the challenges that shaped your project.
  • ๐Ÿ‘๏ธ What worked well and what didn’t? Highlight successes and areas that need improvement.
  • ๐Ÿ—’๏ธ What can we learn and apply to future projects? Create actionable plans from the insights the other questions revealed.

๐ŸŒŸ This post-mortem template is perfect for:

  • Measuring your teamโ€™s performance against the original project goals.
  • Having a thorough review of your projectโ€™s challenges, highlights, and lowest points.

11. Incident impact post-mortem template

Reflect on incidents to enhance your team’s resilience

The post-incident review template gives your team a lens to examine incidents and shed light on their impact and origins. By understanding the root causes and consequences of problems, your team can develop strategies to prevent similar issues and improve their future response to such situations.

Post-mortem questions of this template:

  • ๐Ÿšฉ What incidents or issues disrupted our flow? List the incidents that took place.
  • ๐ŸŒณ What were the root causes and contributing factors? Identify the underlying causes and other elements that played a role in the problems you faced.
  • ๐Ÿ” What can we learn from these incidents? Reflect on the lessons these incidents provided.
  • ๐Ÿ› ๏ธ What preventive measures can we put in place for similar incidents in the future? Develop strategies to minimize recurrence and enhance future responses.

๐ŸŒŸ This post-mortem template is perfect for:

  • Strengthening your team’s incident handling and resilience.
  • Learning from incidents to create a proactive and adaptive team culture.

12. Incident response post-mortem template

Evaluate your team’s incident response to improve processes and preparedness

The incident response post-mortem template assesses your team’s reaction to incidents during a project. Evaluate your response, identify areas of strength and those needing a boost, and craft a blueprint for future readiness.

Post-mortem questions of this template:

  • โš ๏ธ What was our incident response strategy, and how well did it work? Review your team’s actions and decisions in handling incidents.
  • โ›‘๏ธ Which aspects of our response were most effective, and which were less successful? Identify areas where your team excelled and those needing improvement.
  • ๐Ÿšจ Were our incident response plans and procedures effective? Evaluate the usefulness of existing approaches and protocols.
  • ๐Ÿ“ˆ What improvements can we make to our incident response for future projects? Develop strategies to improve your team’s incident readiness.

๐ŸŒŸ This post-mortem template is perfect for:

  • Fine-tuning your team’s incident response playbook.
  • Boosting your team’s readiness for future incidents.

13. Incident post-mortem template

Analyze incidents to prevent them from happening again

The incident post-mortem reveals an incidentโ€™s root causes and contributing factors. You can use this understanding to create tailored strategies and follow-up actions for each problem you experience and ensure they never happen again.

Post-mortem questions of this template:

  • ๐Ÿ” What was the impact of the incident? List the incidents that took place during the project and discuss their effects.
  • ๐ŸŒณ What was the root cause? Identify the underlying causes of each incident.
  • ๐Ÿ’ก What lessons have we learned from this incident? Determine the key takeaways from each incident.
  • ๐Ÿ”ง What changes can we make to prevent similar incidents in the future? Create plans to minimize the chances of recurrence.

๐ŸŒŸ This post-mortem template is perfect for:

  • Deeply understanding why problems happened so you have the best chance of preventing them in the future.
  • Cultivating a culture of continuous improvement and learning from challenges.

๐Ÿ’ก For more details on running incident post-mortems and root cause analysis, check out Running Successful Incident Postmortems.

14. Risk management post-mortem

Assess risk management practices to navigate uncertainties in future projects better

The risk management post-mortem template serves as your risk radar, helping your team identify, evaluate, and navigate risks during a project. Draw insights from this review to refine your risk strategies, ensuring smoother execution in future projects.

Post-mortem questions of this template:

  • ๐ŸŽฒ What risks did we identify, and how did we manage them? Review the identified risks and your team’s risk mitigation strategies.
  • ๐Ÿ“Š How effective were our risk management efforts? Assess the success of your team’s risk mitigation strategies.
  • ๐Ÿšง What unexpected risks or challenges emerged? Explore unforeseen risks and their impact on the project.
  • ๐Ÿ”ฎ How can we improve risk management for future projects? Define actions and procedures to enhance your team’s ability to navigate uncertainties.

๐ŸŒŸ This post-mortem template is perfect for:

  • Evaluating the effectiveness of your team’s risk management strategies.
  • Boosting your risk management processes for future projects.

Team and stakeholder collaboration post-mortem templates

Working with a team and stakeholders sometimes feels like a game of tug-of-war, with miscommunications and misalignments pulling projects in different directions. The following post-mortem templates help keep everyone on the same page, strengthening teamwork, and improving stakeholder relationships.

15. Team performance post-mortem

Evaluate your team’s dynamics to create a stronger and more cohesive group

The team performance post-mortem dives deep into your team’s dynamics, communication, and collaboration throughout the project. The template provides an opportunity to discuss strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for growth so you create a stronger and more cohesive team for future endeavors.

Post-mortem questions of this template:

  • ๐Ÿ‘ฅ How did our team dynamics impact the project? Assess the effect of your team’s interpersonal relationships on the project.
  • ๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ What communication challenges did we face? Identify any communication issues that arose and their impact on the project.
  • ๐Ÿค How can we improve collaboration for future projects? Determine areas for growth and develop strategies to enhance teamwork.

๐ŸŒŸ This post-mortem template is perfect for:

  • Strengthening team dynamics and interpersonal relationships.
  • Improving communication and collaboration among team members.

16. Feature launch post-mortem

Use the feature launch post-mortem to refine your products and services

The Feature Launch Post-mortem emphasizes the value of customer input and satisfaction. It helps your team understand customer viewpoints and fine-tune your approach to deliver exceptional products and services.

Post-mortem questions of this template:

  • ๐Ÿ“ฃ What feedback did we receive from customers? Collect and categorize customer feedback from various channels.
  • ๐ŸŽฏ What were the most common customer pain points? Identify recurring issues and areas of dissatisfaction.
  • ๐Ÿ†๏ธ What aspects did customers appreciate the most? Highlight the strengths and successful elements of the project from the customers’ perspective.
  • ๐Ÿ”„ What changes can we make based on customer feedback? Think of ways to address customer concerns and enhance your products or services.

๐ŸŒŸ This post-mortem template is perfect for:

  • Incorporating customer feedback into your project evaluation.
  • Improving customer satisfaction and addressing pain points.
  • Enhancing the quality of your products and services.
  • Reflecting on a new product or feature launch.

17. Stakeholder satisfaction post-mortem

Recognize the power stakeholders hold and learn to manage them effectively

Stakeholders are not in the project trenches every day. Still, their influence can shape the project’s direction, outcome, and future. The stakeholder satisfaction post-mortem template helps your team to manage this critical relationship effectively. By understanding stakeholder satisfaction and refining your communication strategies, you can align your team’s efforts with stakeholder expectations more closely.

Post-mortem questions of this template:

  • ๐Ÿค How aligned were our project outcomes with stakeholder expectations? Assess the alignment between your team’s deliverables and stakeholder expectations.
  • ๐Ÿ“ฃ How effective was our communication with stakeholders? Evaluate the clarity, frequency, and impact of your communications with stakeholders.
  • ๐Ÿšฉ What challenges did we encounter in managing stakeholder expectations? Identify any misunderstandings or disconnects that arose between the team and stakeholders.
  • ๐ŸŽฏ What steps can we take to improve stakeholder engagement in future projects? Develop approaches to strengthen stakeholder relationships, improve communication, and align project outcomes with stakeholder expectations.

๐ŸŒŸ This post-mortem template is perfect for:

  • Checking and improving stakeholder satisfaction.
  • Refining communication and collaboration with stakeholders.

18. Blameless post-mortem

Turn problems into learning experiences without pointing fingers

Step into a judgment-free zone with the blameless post-mortem template. This approach encourages all team members to share their thoughts and insights, helping identify the root cause of project issues without blaming anyone.

Post-mortem questions of this template:

  • ๐Ÿ“‰ What challenges arose during the project? Describe the difficulties encountered, focusing on the situation and the impact, not on individuals or their actions.
  • ๐ŸŒฑ What can we learn from these situations? Reflect on the issues from a blameless perspective, emphasizing the lessons learned rather than assigning fault.
  • ๐Ÿ”ง What changes can we make to prevent these issues in the future? Suggest improvements or preventive measures, keeping in mind the goal is to improve the process, not to blame people.

๐ŸŒŸ This post-mortem template is perfect for:

  • Fostering a blame-free atmosphere for open discussions.
  • Encouraging a culture of continuous learning and improvement.

19. Remote team post-mortem

Turn the challenges of remote work into opportunities

From time-zone tangles to virtual coffee breaks, remote work has unique challenges and charms. The remote team post-mortem helps you navigate this digital landscape. By analyzing your team’s remote collaboration and communication practices, this template offers a roadmap to transform your distributed workspaces into thriving hubs of productivity and camaraderie.

Post-mortem questions of this template:

  • ๐ŸŒ What worked well in our remote work environment? Highlight the positive aspects of your remote work dynamics.
  • ๐Ÿ“ž Where did our digital communication fall flat? Identify areas where remote communication could be improved.
  • ๐Ÿ’ป What specific remote work challenges did we face? Pinpoint the unique obstacles that emerged due to the distributed work setup.
  • ๐ŸŒ What steps can we take to make remote work more seamless? Brainstorm ways to enhance remote collaboration and streamline communication.

๐ŸŒŸ This post-mortem template is perfect for:

  • Boosting remote team collaboration and communication.
  • Turning remote work challenges into stepping stones for success.

Fun post-mortems

Adding a dash of entertainment to the serious business of project analysis, these lighthearted post-mortem templates spark creativity and encourage unconventional thinking. With a playful approach, your team will uncover valuable insights and lessons that might have been missed in more traditional post-mortems.

20. Time travel post-mortem

Look back from the past and future for unique perspectives on your project

The time travel post-mortem allows your team to step into a time machine and view the project from the past and future. This creative exercise not only sparks fresh perspectives but also facilitates deeper introspection of project outcomes and potential improvements.

Post-mortem questions of this template:

  • โŒ› If we could go back in time, what would we change? Discuss changes your team would make if given a second chance.
  • ๐Ÿš€ What did we learn for future projects? Imagine how the lessons and insights gained from this project will improve future endeavors.
  • ๐Ÿ” How did this project shape our team’s growth and development? Imagine how this project impacts your team’s evolution.
  • ๐ŸŒˆ How will changes we make now improve future projects? Consider how actions you take now will play out in future projects.

๐ŸŒŸ This post-mortem template is perfect for:

  • Stimulating creative thinking and fresh perspectives.
  • Facilitating deep reflection on project outcomes and improvements.

21. Movie director post-mortem

Reflect on your project’s narrative to analyze victories and obstacles

Reimagine your project as a blockbuster movie with the movie director post-mortem. This creative approach guides your team in analyzing the project’s storyline, allowing you to examine critical milestones and turning points.

Post-mortem questions of this template:

  • ๐ŸŽฌ What was the plot of our project movie? Narrate the project’s journey, including pivotal events and plot twists.
  • ๐ŸŽฅ How did each cast member contribute to the plot? Discuss each team member’s roles and actions.
  • ๐Ÿ”๏ธ What were the climaxes and plot holes in our project movie? Identify key victories and hurdles.
  • 2๏ธโƒฃ What ingredients do we need for a blockbuster sequel? Reflect on elements that could make future projects even more successful.

๐ŸŒŸ This post-mortem template is perfect for:

  • Reviewing project wins and challenges in an imaginative way.
  • Strengthening team bonding and collective purpose.

22. Game show post-mortem

Turn your project review into an exhilarating game show for an interactive analysis

The game show post-mortem transforms your project review into an interactive game show. This innovative format keeps your team active and involved, making the analysis more engaging and entertaining.

Post-mortem questions of this template:

  • ๐ŸŽฎ What were the key “rounds” of our project game show? Break down the project into distinct stages.
  • ๐Ÿ† What were the wins and losses during each round? Identify successes and challenges at each stage.
  • ๐ŸŽ‰ How did each contestant contribute to the game show’s finale? Discuss each individual’s roles and actions.
  • ๐Ÿ•น๏ธ What game rules should we modify for the next season? Consider changes that could improve the process for future projects.

๐ŸŒŸ This post-mortem template is perfect for:

  • Keeping your team engaged and motivated during post-mortems.
  • Encouraging a lively and interactive project analysis experience.

Post-mortems: Catalysts of continuous improvement

Understanding the importance of post-mortems can change how your team views these sessions. They’re about more than just figuring out what went wrong or even what went right. They’re about fostering a culture of continuous learning and improvement. Post-mortems open up opportunities for open dialogue, critical thinking, and innovative problem-solving.

But your journey to continuous improvement doesn’t end with understanding and holding regular post-mortems. Consider expanding your methods by looking into pre-mortems โ€“ envisioning potential pitfalls before a project begins.

Pre-mortems allow you to identify and mitigate issues proactively, complementing the reactive analysis of post-mortems. Together, these approaches form a powerful toolset that turns every project into a stepping stone toward success.

Try running your next post-mortem meeting in Parabol, with a structured process that keeps teams on track.

Tim Metz

Tim Metz

Tim Metz crafts content at Animalz for the world’s most amazing startups. He’s passionate about deep work and work-life balance.

All your agile meetings in one place

Run efficient meetings, get your team talking, and save time. Parabol is free for up to 2 teams.