It didn't make sense to Craig Durosko of Sun Design Remodeling Specialists in Northern Virginia to do an “autopsy only on a job on which something went wrong.” His company does a “job debrief” on every job, 30 days after it's been paid in full.

The project's lead carpenter, production coordinator, salesperson, designer, and a representative from accounting attend the session. The accounting department prepares a job cost document, which is broken down into estimate vs. actual for the company's 24 cost codes, such as labor, design labor, materials, or subcontractors. From this they summarize the estimated gross profit vs. the actual gross profit.

Attendees are full, no-holds-barred participants in what Durosko calls a “roundtable of lessons learned.” Employees are rated on how they did on the job and discuss each other's strengths and weaknesses and those of the subcontractors and vendors.

“Since it's done after every job,” says Durosko, “people don't have to wait for their year-end review” to know how they're doing. As an incentive, Durosko has tied bonuses to meeting attendance as well as performance.

When it's over, the meeting is summarized and the lessons added to a database used to train and cross-train others.

“It's increased our gross profit and truly made the process for the client and our own people much better,” says Durosko. “We're not making the same mistakes twice anymore.”