Learning from mistakes: how to analyze finished projects

1 Feb. 2023

Any professional's portfolio contains a diverse range of projects, both simple and complex, expensive and low-budget, successful and unsuccessful. Thanks to such an assortment, mistakes turn into experience, and the pool of customers increases (as does the blacklist of contractors and industries with which you are not ready to work).

How do I convert the mistakes and misunderstandings I've encountered into valuable skills and experience? Is it possible to do the same with the positive aspects of the project? Let's figure it out.


Brief stage in projects

Any project starts with a favorite and irreplaceable brief. Even if your document is as structured, well-thought-out, and detailed as possible, all clients fill out briefs in different ways. Someone does not have time to describe their industry, someone forgets about the size of banners, and some clients try to postpone the stage of filling out the technical task at all. What experience can you gain by analyzing the briefing stage of your projects?

Structure and questions in the brief

If you are faced with the fact that the questions that are in your technical task are not enough for a specialist to start working, this is a sign that the document needs to be reworked. Ideally, a separate, individual brief is drawn up for each task. In large companies, technical tasks are divided not only by tasks and departments that will work with the client but also by the industry that came to you with a request.

The amount of time required to complete it

The timing of each stage of the project is determined by both parties. If you understand that 2 weeks for a brief is the period due to which the entire project may sink in time, indicate this at the next meeting with the client.

Legal reinforcement

In the professional world, a brief is a component of the contract. Both the client and you subscribe to the fact that the first filled out the technical task, and the second accepted it. In legal documents, you can not only fix the customer's requirements but also specify your conditions—deadlines, the number of iterations of edits, and other subtleties. The more you specify in the main contract, the more objective arguments both sides will have during the work.

Personal participation and assistance in filling out

Let's be honest: not all clients immediately understand what they are asked about in the brief, especially when it comes to narrowly focused professional issues. Often, in order for the briefing stage to be painless for both you and the client, you can fill out some items together. You will ask all the important questions, and the client will be able to explain what he wants from you.

It is not difficult to analyze the briefing stage — fix the negative and positive aspects, note what happened to be done on time, write down what difficulties you encountered due to a lack of information in the technical task, and then make an objective conclusion.


The stage of work on projects

After the brief, one of the most voluminous parts of the project begins: the process of completing tasks, designing, setting up advertising, and writing texts. During the implementation of the set goals, there may be many directions that are important to analyze for further comfort:

Working Committee

When selecting responsible specialists for a project, you may face the fact that even the strongest team makes mistakes or underperforms. To prevent this from happening in the future, it is important to take into account not only the level of professionalism but also the emotional component, the specialist's interest in the industry, stress resistance (no matter how infuriating this word is, different colleagues have different levels of resistance to force majeure), as well as the ability of each specialist to work in a specific working group.

Each stage's timing and feedback

The more we work on projects, the better we understand how much work comes with comments and how long it should take to respond to the client. A similar situation works in the opposite direction: if the client does not respond for 2 weeks and then demands compliance with deadlines, the work will not work. While working on errors, it is worth paying attention to these subtleties in order to subsequently fix the terms in the contract and in communication.

There is an emotional component

If objective issues are resolved with the help of legal documents and discussions, then subjective factors of work usually do not lie on the surface. Try to track the emotional state of all participants during the project: how the client reacts to the team, whether the employees are polite, in what format it is more convenient to communicate, how to correctly designate working conditions, and other things.


Even such an exciting and painful process can be made adequate, understandable, and comfortable for all participants. Analyze in which cases there are more problems with coordination, in which communication channels it is better to record the fact of coordination, and where edits occur most often.

Another very good way to work on bugs is to collect feedback from both an internal client (an employee who worked on the project) and an external one (a client who paid for the service). Find out firsthand what difficulties the participants in the process faced, what they liked, and what caused discomfort. In addition to your own observations, you will have primary feedback that will complement the picture.

Working on mistakes and improving the workflow is an important component for any company.


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