Browse Prior Art Database

Post Mortem Tool Disclosure Number: IPCOM000035552D
Original Publication Date: 2005-Jan-24
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Jan-24
Document File: 9 page(s) / 572K

Publishing Venue



Disclosed is a tool that automates a best-practice post mortem process. The Post Mortem Tool drives each post mortem in an efficient and structured way, and ensures a measurable improvement in product quality.

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Post Mortem Tool

Problem Solved

The post mortem process, as currently practiced, is ineffective at improving product quality because it is a manual, time consuming, and unstructured process which does not track actions to completion, does not evaluate the effectiveness of completed actions, and does not provide a searchable archive of completed actions which can be used to identify organizational trends and provide input to future projects. Known Solutions The Post Mortem Tool gathers and tracks process defects and recommendations. There are other defect tracking tools, but those tools lack features that are important for conducting post mortems and tracking post mortem actions.

Drawbacks of Known Solutions Existing defect tracking tools are designed for handling code defects, rather than process defects, and fall short in the following areas:

    Existing tools do not collect positive impacts and recommendations Users cannot enter data anonymously
Each defect requires a corresponding action or resolution, but a one-to-one relationship does not always exist between post mortem impacts and actions
Closed loop process is not enforced; once the defect fix is verified, there is no follow-up on the effectiveness of the solution Why is a New Solution Required? A post mortem is an important project management technique that helps foster continuous process improvement by reviewing positive and negative influences that affected a completed piece of work. By understanding past influences, negative influences may be avoided or minimized in the future, and positive influences may be reinforced. A new solution that automates post mortems is required because our current manual process:

Requires a large amount of time and commitment from team members Requires scarce expertise to organize and lead Does not record and save post mortem data during a project, when ideas are 'fresh' in team members' minds
Does not collect valuable post mortem data from team members who leave the team before the end of the project
Does not track actions to completion (no accountability)

    Does not evaluate actions/solutions Does not archive gathered and analyzed information Does not facilitate sharing information among teams Does not allow searching for solutions to previously-identified problems Is viewed by participants as ineffective
Summary of Invention The Post Mortem Tool embodies the "OnDemand" philosophy by enabling a team to


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report and address problems during a project, so the later stages of the project will benefit. The Post Mortem Tool facilitates the post mortem process by:

Establishing a list of participants and keeping them informed of events and status throughout the post mortem process
Simplifying the initiation of a post mortem and the scheduling of events Collecting anonymous observations, criticisms, praise, and suggestions Producing and distributing organized review information Establishing a structure for:

Creating and discussing impacts