Skip to main content Skip to footer

Project post implementation review (PIR) 6 min read
Get started

If you imagine the stages of a project, you’re likely to think of interested parties discussing an idea, managers planning each stage, and teams working diligently towards the goal. What you may not consider is the post-implementation review. It might sound dull, but it’s a vital part of the project’s closing stage and just as important as all the stages preceding it.

This article considers what’s involved in a post-implementation review, its benefits, how it can influence future projects, and why it’s an important step in the project management life cycle. We also give thought to a review’s limitations and reveal how Work OS can play a vital role.

Get started

What is a post-implementation review (PIR)?

A post-implementation review looks at how a project achieved its goals. While it can’t match the excitement of the planning stage or the energy of implementation, it’s equally important to the overall project management life cycle. This is because it determines the value of the project as a whole while also evaluating the worth of individual factors. A typical PIR is looking for answers to three important questions:

  • Were the project’s objectives met?
  • How effectively was this achieved?
  • What lessons were learned?

The best time to conduct the PIR is as soon as the project has delivered its purpose, when the memories of those involved are still fresh. However, a complete review isn’t possible until the effects of the project’s changes are at a measurable stage. This only comes after the typical challenges faced by change, such as initial resistance from those affected by it and technical problems unforeseen during the testing stage.

Who is involved in a post-implementation review?

All team members should be involved in the review, which is typically conducted by an independent reviewer who may or may not be an employee of the organization. The reviewer works closely with the project manager and interviews stakeholders and customers, who provide valuable information about their expectations and how the project met or didn’t meet them. Employees are canvassed for their thoughts, which they should be able to provide without fear of repercussions, or the review will likely be tainted by poor data and knowledge gaps that would have been filled by useful information that was withheld.

What benefits does a PIR provide?

Following up on the answers to the three PIR questions mentioned earlier will greatly benefit your company. The lessons learned from previous projects will help those working on future ones avoid repeating past mistakes and learn solutions that other teams developed to overcome obstacles. For the organization, the review will confirm which projected benefits were achieved and help it determine where it could have extracted more advantages than initially realized.

PIR helps organizations evaluate the value of projects, measure their success, and use its conclusions to benefit future projects.

How does a PIR affect projects moving forward?

Since the purpose of the review is to learn lessons and not apportion blame, it will help teams improve their performance in future projects, which benefits the wider organization. It will help it streamline processes, improve the quality of output, and operate with more efficiency. An effective PIR will also reduce the costs of planned projects that initiate post-review recommendations by saving time and minimizing costly errors.

Why is PIR an important part of the closeout phase of the PM life cycle?

There are four phases of the project management life cycle:

  • Initiating
  • Planning
  • Executing
  • Closing

PIR follows the period after the project has delivered on its objectives, all necessary documentation is complete, and the satisfied client has approved it. Although its conclusions are clearly beneficial to future projects, PIR is also an important record of the processes the project delivered on. It’s an audit trail that provides answers to queries at a later date.

Limitations of PIR

As each project is unique, it throws up unexpected issues that could not have been anticipated. Therefore, changes made based on previous reviews will only cover historical issues and record how they were handled based on the circumstances at the time. Ultimately, the time and effort put into it and the skills and experience of the person tasked with its completion limit the review’s effectiveness. There’s always a risk that the euphoria following a successful project (or relief, if it’s been particularly challenging) may motivate the organization to move on, especially if another project is waiting in the wings.

Get started

How to execute a PIR with

There are five ways Work OS helps project managers close their projects.

  • Digital asset management: Directly upload files of varying types and create a board where you can view all vital information on one screen, where you’re only one or two clicks away from supplementary data.
  • Integrations: Work OS integrates with a wealth of popular programs used by project managers, such as Zoom, Gmail, and Dropbox.
  • Sharing and reporting: In dashboard view, project managers and their teams share all the documents they’re authorized to access and generate real-time reports based on available data.
  • Automations: Project managers automate repetitive tasks, freeing time for teams to concentrate on those requiring individual input.
  • Templates: has a range of templates users can include to get up and running quickly. These include the project closure template, which provides clear guidelines on what information is needed at the closing stage. There’s also the lessons learned template to gather all feedback in one place and collate it into a single document or presentation.

Get started


What is a post-implementation review in project management?

A post-implementation review is an assessment of a project during its closing stage that considers its achievements against expectations and records lessons learned that may benefit future projects.

When must a post-implementation review take place?

Each review is unique, as is the time it should be conducted, but it’s common for the review to happen once the project’s stages are completed and the impact of any changes implemented can be gauged.

A final word

The post-implementation review is an important part of the project closing stage that shouldn’t be neglected. The review’s conclusions — if acted upon —  will have positive outcomes for future projects and, therefore, the organization as a whole. Work OS and its useful templates offer many advantages; they help reviewers ensure they don’t miss a step, provide one location for all the data they collect, and condense it into manageable documents and presentations for stakeholders.

Get started