August 1, 2017 by Molly

Sometimes at NKD we get together to laugh, cry and think hard about how to do things better. We call these meetings ‘wash ups’ and they happen at the end of every project.

We thrash out what was good, bad and indifferent. We critique, we analyse, and we improve. ‘Next time, we’ll be even better’ we say to one another. And we mean it.

Last week, we completed a wash up on a customer experience project we spent 2 years on. A project with an audience of 900 HR professionals for one of our biggest clients. Was the project a success? Sure. Can we do better next time? Definitely.

Here’s how we make sure every new project is better than our last:

                       1.   Review the project’s objectives v.s the end outcome

Did we achieve what we set out to do? Did the ‘goalposts’ shift? Did we flex enough, too much? Understanding these questions and their answers helps us work out what we can do to stay on course. This doesn’t just help us – our clients benefit from this insight too. We use our experience to keep projects delivering what they say they will.

                       2.  Identify what worked, what didn’t and potential improvements

What worked well? What did the client like? What was the impact on the team of getting these elements right? We recognise  achievements as well as opportunities for what could be better. We use the ‘Stop, Start, Continue’ tool. It’s simple – it’s effective, it always leads to us identifying specific points

                         3. Innovation

How did you make this project different than the last? What was new and shiny and brilliant? We know the times are a-changing. There is great L&D out there and we need to innovate to remain at the forefront. We review our use of cutting edge thinking, our use of new tech and new approaches. We record any lessons we’ve learnt so we can share internally and externally.

                         4. Capture and share

What will we do differently next time? How can we make sure others learn from our mistakes and successes? In this section of the wash up, we make our action plan for improvement. The outcomes are always specific and tangible. We always agree how to share what we’ve learnt with the wider team. At NKD, we share learning on our online sharing platform. We also share at our company-wide weekly meeting… just in case.

And last but not least:

                           5. Celebrate!

Projects come and go so fast. It’s easy to move on without recognising everyone’s contributions. Not on our watch…

There it is, our 5 simple steps to project wash ups. If you follow these steps, you’ll have a simple recipe for continuous improvement, the NKD way.