Post Project Analysis
Being the fortunate recipient of a number of grants from arts funding bodies, I am grateful for what I have learned from their formal, document-supported process. Writing the grant application is invaluable in articulating the project’s goals, budget and timeline, while writing the outcome report that sums up the project’s success in achieving the goals, learnings (both anticipated and unexpected) and outcomes (that are often above and beyond what is promised in the initial application), can provide major insights.
The process of writing outcome reports involves post-project analysis or debriefing. It provides the opportunity to not only acknowledge all the successes, but unpack what perhaps didn’t go as planned, why it didn’t and how to avoid any issues in future projects. Funding bodies usually have quite prescriptive reporting requirements built into their outcome reports, and I have adopted a combination of their questions into my own post-project analysis. After each project I undertake, even if they are not grant funded, I run through a checklist which includes questions like:
Did I achieve my goals for the project? What is my measure for the success of the project?
Did I forecast enough time for each stage of the project?
Did my budget allow room for movement if the project needed to take a different course?
Did I have a Plan B built into significant milestones?
Was I happy with the outcome of the project? If yes, why? If no, why not?
What would I have done differently? And, how can I apply these learnings to future projects?
With every project I undertake, I learn something new, usually something quite invaluable that I bring with me to the next project. With the Seven with Another exhibition now de-installed, I am going through the process of post-project analysis, asking myself how the collaboration went, how the work was received and which of the opportunities that have arisen out of the project do I wish to pursue.
A good debrief also provides a feeling of closure. But, while this project might be complete, it also feels like the beginning of a whole new body of work, which is very exciting indeed…
Image: Stitched Together (detail), Seven with Another artwork by Robert Davidson + KT Doyle (sculpture + soundscape)