Author Topic: COMMUNICATION: Post Mortem  (Read 2274 times)

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ManageThis

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COMMUNICATION: Post Mortem
« on: Mar 09, 2009, 02:51 pm »
For my current show, my director wants to do a post mortem. As we'll be graduating soon we are making a guideline "book" for future directors, and he feels a post mortem is a good first step towards creating that.

We have never done a post mortem before. Right now I'm planning on running it as I would any other production meeting.

Does anyone have any tips?
« Last Edit: Jun 09, 2009, 02:30 am by PSMKay »

Mac Calder

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Re: Post Mortem
« Reply #1 on: Mar 09, 2009, 04:42 pm »
Set the ground rules at the onset:

Constructive critisism only.
Remember that some people have put a lot of effort into the show, so make comments, but be kind.
Discussion is encouraged, but it has to be orderly. (Establish this from the onset, for example, if there is a comment directed at a department, the department receiving the comment has first response, the director next, etc etc etc, then open the floor)

I love doing post mortems, it helps me to further my craft, and it helps others to do so too.

(A few to add - I had to leave earlier)

Conference table setup (ie not lecture theatre or anything like that)
Make sure there is tea and coffee and maybe something to eat on the table
Start with reviews of your own performance, problems, solutions etc and what you would do better next time etc, then move around. This sets the tone... don't get into 'suggestions and constructive critisism" until after everyone has offloaded their "Problems they have already noted"
« Last Edit: Mar 10, 2009, 09:23 pm by Mac Calder »

chrrl

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Re: Post Mortem
« Reply #2 on: Mar 10, 2009, 03:30 pm »
My company does post-mortems for every show.  (Though it's staff only - no guest designers or directors are present).  It's a great way to digest the good, bad, and ugly and it's been helpful to keep improving our process on every show.  Since I've been here they've never gotten ugly, but I've heard stories of some tension-filled post-mortems in the recent past.  I like the idea of establishing ground rules, then go department by department.  It's always helpful to keep the positive up front - start with what worked well.

ReyYaySM

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Re: Post Mortem
« Reply #3 on: Mar 10, 2009, 03:43 pm »
I agree with the above.  I would add that if you are moderating the post-mortem, ask someone else to take detailed notes of the discussion.  This will free you up and allow you to keep focused on the discussion and keep things moving.  I also find that when the room is setup where everyone can see each other (ie with chairs in a circle or four tables in a square, etc) it can feel more collaborative/easier to talk as opposed to the moderator standing in front of the group (classroom style). 

I love post-mortems.  It's a great way for me to get feedback on how I am doing my job and also a way for me to learn more about parts of the process I wasn't directly involved in. 

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Re: Post Mortem
« Reply #4 on: Mar 10, 2009, 10:05 pm »
The answer to your question is "yes": run it like any other production meeting and as was said, keep it constructive.  I LOVE post mortems.  I find that it's a great learning tool and policy is often set by it.  I worked at a large event center for many years and we used the post mortem on every event: even if just to say: "all went well, no problems to report".

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