It is officially the last week of 2021. While you might be busy preparing a get-together with family and friends to receive the new year, it is a good idea to take a break from planning and look back at what you have accomplished throughout the year. Evaluating your 2021 relationships, lifestyle, or career, will allow you to see your growth and understand where you excel and where you need to improve in the upcoming year. A good tool that you can use to evaluate your 2021 career success, or if you wish, any other aspect of your life is a Post-Mortem.
A Post-Mortem is actually a tool mostly used by designers to evaluate the success of their work. Contrary to popular belief (even among designers) a design project does not come to an end when the final product is delivered to the client. Instead, good designers run Post-Mortems with the goal of clearly understanding what was successful or not in their designs while the project is still fresh in their minds. This allows designers to learn from their work and excel in the next project.
So, how can you use a Post-Mortem to improve your career in 2022? Well, at the end of every Post-Mortem you should get concrete answers to three questions. These are:
- What went right and should be repeated in the future?
- What went wrong and should be avoided in the future?
- What should be done differently next time?
What went right and should be repeated in the future?
If you kept your job throughout 2021 then you are pretty good at what you do and have accomplished many things. Now is the time to slow down and think about all those 2021 career successes, write down each step you took to accomplish them, and plan ways to repeat them in the upcoming year. It is recommended to have a moderator around when you run your career Post-Mortem. This person needs to be close to you professionally, like a manager or coworker. They can help you by pointing out successes that you might not remember at the time, reminding you of a key step you took to reach a goal, or simply bringing a new perspective. Evaluating your accomplishments and knowing exactly how you reached them throughout the year will uncover paths that you can once again take to reach your 2022 goals.
What went wrong and should be avoided in the future?
Were you close to achieving a goal but were not successful? Did you make a mistake that forced you to start a project from scratch? Do some of your responsibilities take too long to get done? If you did not reach a goal in 2021 this is the time to come up with ideas to make it right and achieve success next year. Again, make sure you evaluate each step that you took, and most importantly brainstorm ways to get past that barrier that didn’t allow you to reach your goals. You can also use this time to research ways to automate or speed up your processes to make you a much more effective and productive professional in 2022.
What should be done differently next time?
This question should be easy to answer. The results of your evaluation, research and brainstorming will cover it neatly. Make sure to take your time to plan every single step you will take to reach your current goals and any other that you wish to incorporate for 2022. If necessary, create a calendar with deadlines for objectives that you wish to accomplish throughout the year. This calendar will not only allow you to keep track of your progress, but will also motivate you, and will help you build responsibility towards your career goals.
As you can see, a Post-Mortem can be used outside of the design field to analyze, evaluate, and plan success in other areas of your life, like in your career. Use this tool to brainstorm solutions to your current career struggles, plan ways to reproduce your successes, and make yourself a more productive professional in 2022.
Happy New Year from ISGF to you. We cannot wait to see what you will accomplish next year!
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