This is something that great coaches and athletes learned to do a long time ago. After each and every quarter, half, game the team sits together and reflects on what’s working, what isn’t, and how to get better. Sometimes this is a formal process, sometimes it is not, but either way it is a useful one. It allows the athletes to build what is already there, as opposed to starting from scratch. It’s like the old line says “in order to know where you are going you need to know where you have been.”. And this is true not only with athletics, but with our UX field as well.
By taking the time to reflect, even by ourselves, about our last meeting, project, deliverable, workshop… whatever, we begin to evaluate ourselves. We look into the positives and negatives, and we do this, not to criticize but to deconstruct and construct. We build off of what we already know, and can make ourselves better, without throwing away the knowledge that we have built up to this point.
The moral of the story is that projects aren’t the only things that you can and should iterate on. You can do the same with your UX career and skills, but in order to get where you are going you need to take a step back and reflect on where you have been.