How to Conduct a Facility Relocation Project Post-Mortem Analysis

Facility relocation project post-mortem assessments, where a completed initiative’s results are reviewed and evaluated, are an important tool to help teams continuously improve their performance, maximize resources, and deliver the best experience possible to their customers and stakeholders. These exercises can be especially useful if your team is responsible for checkerboard desk moves, where users are relocated from one work area to another, and another group is simultaneously (or very soon after) moved into the recently vacated location. These are often high-visibility efforts with tight scheduling, and any lapse in planning or execution could lead to some very unhappy end users.

Are Piles of Tasks Late in a Project Pushing Your Team Toward Failure?

If you want to boost your performance and pull more usable insights from your facility relocation project post-mortem exercises, use these key elements to start your assessment on the right foot.

Begin with the obvious: complaints. What type of complaints did the team receive during the project? Were complaints spread across your user base or did certain groups raise more issues than others? You should also break the complaints down into the planning and execution stages of the project. This information will help you identify when and why stakeholders were dissatisfied, and then explore the issues’ possible root causes to improve your processes and avoid similar missteps in the next relocation. A bonus is that you’ll also have a better understanding of which project activities were well executed, so you can mirror your high-performing workflows during future projects.

Do a timeline review. An analysis of your relocation schedule enables you to see how activities aligned with expectations. Was everyone moved on their planned date? Did contractors complete their tasks on time? If a particular part of the move process consistently takes longer than anticipated to finish, you can focus on developing more accurate task duration estimates for that activity. Delays caused by end users might be addressed by reworking your messaging strategy or leaning on senior-level sponsors to keep everyone motivated. With so many moving parts and very little wiggle room between the different stages in a relocation project, you may also need to build in additional contingency time to ensure your checkerboard moves occur on schedule.

Look at your communications. Success hinges on a well-functioning communication strategy, from identifying when an office move will be least disruptive for end users to getting new network connection points installed in the right places before the relocation occurs. Was anyone confused about their roles and responsibilities? Did each person—both on the project management side of things as well as end users—know what was expected of them and when? Consider also if the growing sprawl of collaboration tools and communication portals is fragmenting your communications. You need to be sure information is stored where it will be seen and that end user requests are sent to a place that’s checked frequently.

Peruse your punch list items. When your team first creates the punch list, the priority is to get everything addressed and closed out. During the post-mortem review, the line items can deliver additional insights to help improve your performance on future projects. Look for trends, such as items that appear on multiple relocation projects’ punch lists or items focused on a certain area of responsibility (electrical, furnishings, etc.). You might increase the focus on these areas during the planning phase to reduce last-minute fixes. Examine any punch list requests with a particularly lengthy resolution timeframe or high cost. These may be good candidates to include as an individual line item on future relocation efforts to ensure they’re completed on time and that you’re able to negotiate the most favorable pricing available.

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