A project debrief isn’t optional

Marketing and Design agencies are fast-paced and always adapting. They don’t have an option but to be agile, with their processes and also their thinking at large.

And agencies that aim to get to the next level need to adapt even faster not necessarily with faster systems but with better processes, particularly in areas where learning can take place. Now, that could be training & development or even debrief sessions.

Let me tell you; most project managers don’t think a debrief session is necessary for every project. Particularly for the shorter assignments that last for a day. Or even a few hours! Here’s my argument — while the small stuff may not seem significant, high-performing agencies obsess over the small stuff.

If that sounds like too much of a time investment, you’re not ready or capable of delivering high performance. Stop wasting everyone’s time. If that sounds rude, it’s intentional. Understand that the small stuff matter—a lot!

Let me give you an example — the first reported case of COVID19 was in January 2020. The world didn’t pay much attention to it. We’re in October 2020 and already in the middle of a global recession. Small stuff? Right.

I know that’s a little too dramatic and has absolutely nothing to do with high-performance. But think again. One of the main reasons behind the dismal economic performance of countries is because they ignored something that seemed like “small stuff.”

Take the case of your favourite sport and the best performing team (perhaps the world champions?) in that sport. Picture them playing with a team that’s the weakest in the league. And as expected the crowd-favourites smashed the minnows by a massive margin.

Do you think the champions will go back to the dressing room, celebrate, and go back to their hotels? Or do you think they would still discuss with their coaches on what went well, what opportunities did they miss, and where exactly did they fuck up? I can say from experience that the champions obsess with details.

And that’s why they are champions. The rules for your agency shouldn’t be any different. Obsess over the small stuff. A project debrief is the most vital step in the project management process, yet leaders don’t take it as seriously as it should be.

Debrief every-single-project that you deliver. The size and scope of the project don’t matter. The insights that you learn from delivering these projects and how you leverage them is what differentiates a mediocre agency with a great one.

Essentially, you choose what kind of an organisation or individual you can be. And it all starts with the small stuff. It always does.

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