Three Little Meetings That Just Might Change Your Game

Simple in form, profound in results, XPLANE’s “non-negotiable” Trifecta aligns us in the present, informs us of the past and just plain makes us better at what we do. The Trifecta is our name for three “must have” meetings on every project; the internal kickoff, the post session debrief, and the project retrospective.

Why are they non-negotiable? Because they are invaluable. Throughout the project, they keep the team informed, united and on track. Upon completion of the project, they’re placed in the project archive folder, accessible to future teams to revisit the last project, and to evaluate and improve upon the new experience where possible.

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So what are they exactly?

The Internal Kickoff:

The IKO is owned and led by the Account Director or Salesperson. It is his or her opportunity to give the team a download, e.g., explain the client history and how this project came about. What conversations were had that led to writing the SOW? What is/are the deliverable(s). What is the timeline and are there any driving deadlines?

In this meeting we also share budget, milestone details, confirm the team, its roles and responsibilities, and validate the allocation of hours per team member. The IKO is critical to the success of the project. It’s the first step in unification, clarification and team alignment around project scope.

The Post Session Debrief:

The post session debrief is the meeting directly following the discovery session, which is an all day (or longer) meeting with client stakeholders to “discover” all the necessary elements and ingredients needed to make the project a success. First we take a pulse-check: how did the session go? What were the plus/deltas ––delta meaning what might we have done better or differently? Is the scope of work the same, or do we need to adjust or make additional recommendations based on discovery? Are the roles and responsibilities the same and have we included all necessary skill-sets to complete the project successfully? This is when adjustments, addendums, or call-outs to clients are first brought up, helping us avoid the ever so stealth and insipid enemy of all projects; scope creep.

The Project Retrospective:

When naming this final meeting, we intentionally refrained from calling it a “post mortem” debrief. Post-mortem sounds final, and sad and we are usually very excited when a project has come to completion! The goal of this meeting is to take advantage of the gift of hindsight and ask ourselves what went well with this project. Was the client happy? Did we meet their definition of success? Did we “wow” them? Did we come in on budget? Could or should we have done anything differently? What did we learn, and how can we improve the next time we work with this client or do a similar project?

These simple meetings have become pillars to our success. What are your pillars to project success and how have you incorporated them into your projects?

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