An important aspect of any critical event is the post-event review: identifying exactly which aspects went well and which could be improved. Both successes and problem points within the event should be explored whether the event as a whole is considered to be successful or not.
Reconstructing the event, whether for post-event learning or audit purposes, can be a laborious and time-consuming process. Piecing together emails, phone records and individuals’ memories can be a difficult and imprecise task. However, post-event learning is essential to continuously improve event management and increase the likelihood of events being successful in the future.
Effectively evaluating the success of an event requires identifying the initial expectations for it, focusing on measurable goals around key checkpoints and identifying whether these were met. Whether the overall event is deemed a success or a failure, digging deeper into specific aspects of the event can help the team to learn how to do things better next time. You can ask questions like: Has the execution of the event enabled the value of the delivery to be realised? Were all of the critical dependencies understood? Was there an issue with a go/no-go decision due to a lack of stakeholder engagement? Were workstreams broken down into enough detail? Were the timing estimates accurate? If you can identify specific aspects of the event where issues occurred, you can continue to make your planning and processes better.
After identifying the effectiveness of these measurable aspects of the event, you can ask the most important question: why was this the case? You should focus on identifying which methods and processes worked well and which ones did not, and then look at how the bad processes can be changed. What qualifies as a success can mean a number of things, not excluding the experience of team members. If using a certain method or system was frustrating or stressful, look into finding new systems or tools. The focus should be on the underlying root causes of problems as opposed to the outcomes, to prevent the recurrence of these issues in the future.
The key takeaway from post-event analyses should be actionable items that can be put into Problem Management and introduced for subsequent rehearsals and events. Pinpointing and correcting specific problem areas such as handovers, delayed or overrunning processes or communications can help to reduce waste and mitigate risk, ensuring that the next event is more successful.
How can Cutover help to drive continuous improvement?
Cutover keeps a record of an entire critical event, which can be saved, viewed and analysed. This saves a lot of time and money that would be spent reconstructing an event for auditors or for post-event learning purposes. The data is also more accurate because it is not subject to human error.
This ‘black box’ function allows managers to view exactly what happened and - whether the event was successful or otherwise - find out why. It allows for the repetition and improvement of the same set of actions multiple times, providing data that can help managers to better estimate how long each action will take, as well as where conflicts or delays might occur.
It is easy, with Cutover, to see where delays have occurred in previous events, such as a handover taking longer than expected. This then enables users to plan more accurately for future events. Runbooks can also be duplicated and edited for future use, meaning managers can easily keep the elements of the event that worked and change the ones that did not.
Post-event learning has a number of benefits and Cutover facilitates this by allowing users to view a completed event in its entirety. This can help to ensure the success of future events because the accuracy of timelines and predictability will constantly be improving as knowledge and data grow.