Thursday, November 7, 2013

Learning From a Project “Post Mortem”

For this week’s assignment we were to recall and post a project, either personal or professional, that did not work out successfully. I chose to discuss a personal project: my paternal family reunion. Every year we have a family reunion in the summer. At the first meeting everything appears to go well. The venue is picked out, the date is set, and the menu is made. But the closer it got to the reunion date, things seem to unravel. Most of the people waited until the last minute to pay their dues, some people didn’t like the colors of the t-shirts, some people didn’t agree with the food, and some of the relatives just were negative during the whole process.

I feel that the project could have been organized better from the beginning. It seemed that everyone was trying to tell everyone else how to handle their assigned responsibilities. I think that if the members of the reunion planning committee had used the RASCI model, the process would have went a lot smoother.
Benefits of using RASCI (Kosmala, 2009):
·         Determines ownership of a particular project or task

·         Promotes teamwork by clarifying roles and responsibilities

·         Improves communication by getting the right groups involved

·         Increases efficiency by eliminating duplication of effort

·         Reduces misunderstanding between and across employees and key stakeholder groups

·         Improves decision-making by ensuring the correct people are involved

·         Provides the foundation for future alignment around a given project or initiative
Hopefully next year’s reunion will be more organized.

Komala,M. (2009). The canoe group: Project management: 6 steps to creating a successful rasci chart. Retrieved from



  1. Hi Katie and what a fun blog, I couldn't help myself but I giggled a little over the issues you have at your family reunions.

    I know a little bit about family reunions and the havoc it is to organize such a venues. There is one on my maternal side every other year and on my paternal side every three years. The way we do it is there is one committee for each of the reunions, and in both cases it is up to one of the siblings and his/her children to organize the event. The committee does make a project plan that makes specific people accountable to organizing a specific part of the event. Luckily we don't have to organize any food as everyone brings something for the common bar-b-q and their ideas of sides etc. But there is plenty of planning apart from the food.

    There is no formal "project manager" appointed but within each family there is always someone that is responsible for the reunion and the planning process. That individual must find all the requirements that must be met and manage the project team (which usually are 2-3 more people) in order for the project to become a successful family reunion yet another time (Portny, Mantel, Meredith, Shafer, Sutton, & Kramer, 2008).

    Hopefully your next family reunion will be more successful than this years. One suggestion - make a survey through i.e. and ask participants what color of T-shirts they would most like to see, give option of handful of colors. That way if someone starts to moan about the color you can always say; "this is what the majority wanted".

    Good luck


    Portny, S., Mantel, S., Meredith, J., Shafer, S., Sutton, M., & Kramer, B. (2008). Project Management. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

  2. Hello Katie, great topic to analyze. As I ponder the situation I am beginning to realize that difficulty of appointing a planning lead but maybe next year the family could choose a designated project manager (PM) who can create and deploy a responsibilities chart; in addition, the reunion PM would be able to tackle the scope creep as various family members suggest their wishes (Portny et al., 2008). This is definitely difficult to do within a family situation but the PM may be designed based upon free time or influence within the entire family. Another tactic would be to identify the “key influencers” within your family and recruit them to assist with the various projects phases to ensure there is minimal scope creep (Kim, 2003). I wish you the best of luck with the next reunion and I really like Rosa’s survey suggestion; by identifying majority you will be able to sway the resistors.


    Kim, W. C., & Mauborgne, R. (2003). Tipping point leadership. Harvard Business Review, 81(4), 60–69.

    Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.