The output of the Distribute Information process is organizational process assets updates. The updates here consist of six elements:
Stakeholder notifications Remember that the focus of this process is distributing information. Stakeholder notifications involve notifying stakeholders when you have implemented solutions and approved changes, have updated project status, have resolved issues, and so on.
Project reports Project reports include the project status reports and minutes from project meetings, lessons learned, closure reports, and other documents from all the process outputs throughout the project. If you're keeping an issue log, the issues would be included with the project reports as well.
Project presentations Project presentations involve presenting project information to the stakeholders and other appropriate parties when necessary. The presentations might be formal or informal and depend on the audience and the information being communicated.
Project records Project records include, as you might guess, memos, correspondence, and other documents concerning the project. The best place to keep information like this is in a project notebook or in a set of project notebooks, depending on the size of the project. The project notebooks are ordinary three-ring binders where project information gets filed. They are maintained by the project manager or project office and contain all information regarding the project. You could also keep the information on a project website, the company intranet, or CDs. If you're keeping the information electronically, make certain it's backed up regularly. Individual team members might keep their own project records as well in notebooks or electronically. These records serve as historical information once the project is closed.
Feedback from stakeholders This one ties into lessons learned. Feedback you receive from the stakeholders that can improve future performance on this project or future projects should be captured and documented. If the information has an impact on the current project, distribute it to the appropriate team members so that future project performance can be modified to improve results.
Lessons learned documentation Lessons learned are information that you gather and document throughout the course of the project that can be used to benefit the current project, future projects, or other projects currently being performed by the organization. Lessons learned might include positive as well as negative lessons.
During the Distribute Information process, you'll begin conducting lessons learned meetings focusing on many different areas, depending on the nature of your project. These areas might include project management processes, product development, technical processes, project team performance, stakeholder involvement, and so on.
Lessons learned meetings should always be conducted at the end of project phases and at the end of the project at minimum. Team members, stakeholders, vendors, and others involved on the project should participate in these meetings. It's important to understand, and to make your team members understand, that this is not a finger-pointing meeting. The purpose of lessons learned is to understand what went well and why—so you can repeat it on future projects—and what didn't go so well and why—so you can perform differently on future projects. These meetings can make good team-building sessions because you're creating an atmosphere of trust and sharing and you're building on each other's strengths to improve performance.
You should document the reasons or causes for the issues, the corrective action taken and why, and any other information that future projects might benefit from.
We're making one last switch of focus in this chapter and will examine how to manage stakeholder expectations next.
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What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.