Lessons Learned for esports events – Project management guide

The fabled lessons learned meeting. One that often gets overlooked after esports events. Good project management principles should require a lessons learned meeting after an event (regardless of how good or bad it went). Non consistent event planners will more than likely wash their hands of the event and never look at it again to learn from it.

So if you’re curious, I’ve taken some time to write about lessons learned meetings from my time in IT and many esports events. Here we go!

What Are Lessons Learned? Why have them?

Lessons learned aka

  • Post Mortems
  • Retrospective

Lessons learned meetings occur AFTER the event.  It’s an opportunity to see what went right, wrong and how we can improve in the future for other events or projects.  It’s a collaborative effort with multiple stakeholders.

Stakeholders are those who had an interest in the project.  Some lessons learned meetings are specifically for project sponsors

Different lessons learned meetings may take place for different audiences.

Why have a Lessons Learned meeting?

  • Learn for the future
  • See what went wrong
    • Document missteps 
    • Document action for the future
    • Document what could be improved
  • See what went right (celebrate success too)
    • Document what went right
    • Document and action for the future
    • Document what should be carried over for future events

How do lessons learned look?

A lessons learned meeting is conducted for some of the following reasons:

  • We went over budget for our event
    • Cause:
      • No buffer for the event.
    • Solutions:
      • We should add buffer for future events
      • Our budget was nowhere near defined for our scope
  • Internet Issues caused a production delay
    • Cause:
      • We ran the stream on a residential line that was 25/10
    • Solutions:
      • We should upgrade our internet for future events to a minimum of 100/50
      • Get a backup line as well in case of outages

What happens to the lessons learned documentation?

The lessons learned documentation is never seen again (just kidding):

The documentation for a lessons learned diagram is saved by the event manager, tournament organizer or project manager and then stored in the company 

It is stored in the repository, google drive or somewhere else that the organization can take advantage of it. It is then referenced for future events to share knowledge for newer tournament organizers, admins or project managers.

What should be prepared for the meeting?

You can prepare the following for a lessons learned meeting:

  • Anonymize a survey
  • Ask questions such as, do you feel the project went well?
    • Name something you learned
    • Name something that went well
    • Name something that didn’t go well
    • Check for common trends
  • Icebreaker if the team is tense / new
  • Be prepared to take notes and think of facilitation techniques to get the most out of the meeting

Format Example v1

Many ways to host a lessons learned meeting.  General format can be the following:

  • Introduction to why we’re all here
    • Not everyone may know everyone.  Intro of what the lessons learned meeting is and isn’t.  Some people may attack others. Not the meeting for this!
  • Gather and Collect Feedback
    • Gather and brainstorm ideas of success and improvements
  • Evaluate the feedback
    • Evaluate which ones are very relevant for future projects and brainstorm solutions together
  • Conclude
    • Close point and potentially repeat from step 2 for more ideas.
  • Summarize and close
    • Close meeting, thank everyone for coming and summarize the action items + send out communication

Format Example V2

V2 format for more cohesive teams

  • Ask team to brainstorm ideas of topics they would like to discuss
  • Ask team to post ideas on whiteboard or sticky notes
  • Team voting on which topics to discuss first (chances are, most topics will be covered during the discussion based on voting. Other topics should still be discussed)
  • Go through the highly voted topics and gauge discussion to get feedback and action items
  • Finish with a closing exercise
    • Ask them to rate the meeting, their mood, etc
  • Conclude meeting and document all the findings
  • Summarize and communicate out

Tips on an esports lessons learned meeting

Tips from many lessons learned!

  • Don’t play the blame game
  • Try to anonymously get feedback before the meeting if the team is not comfortable speaking together
  • Everyone should give feedback or speak.  
  • One person at a time
  • Create an agenda before the meeting, distribute it before the meeting
  • Stay on topic and stick to the agenda. 
  • Team members want to be heard – it’s important to build unity and camaraderie from these
  • It is important to continuously learn from each other and our mistakes

So there you have it. A quick guide on esports lessons learned meetings from a project management perspective. It’s important to note, always make sure you have a good facilitator in these meetings. Never play the blame game and keep learning from each event. There’s always something you can learn!

If you want to contact me or have any questions. Make sure you also give me a follow on twitter.

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