How to Conduct an After-Action Review

Organizational learning calls for ongoing evaluation of organizational performance, taking into account both successes and failures, and making sure that learning occurs to support ongoing improvement. A straightforward option for facilitating this assessment is the After Action Review (AAR). It functions by gathering a team to openly and honestly discuss a task, event, activity, or project.

Applying properly conducted AARs consistently throughout an organization may aid in fostering change there. Additionally to making tacit learning from unconscious learning, it aids in team member trust-building and overcoming error-related fear. AARs have the potential to play a significant role in the internal learning and motivational system when used properly.

There are many different ways to conduct AARs. Due to the tool’s inherent simplicity, there is a lot of room for experimentation to determine the best working methods for the group and the work item under review. The entire procedure should be kept as straightforward and simple to recall as possible. However, the purpose of the AAR is to gather the appropriate group to discuss a project, activity, event, or task and to pose the following straightforward questions.

This workshop was an amalgamation of a number of national learning initiatives that had been undertaken in the wake of the tsunami crisis of December 26, 2004, The AAR included additional participation from CARE Somalia staff and primarily concentrated on the four most affected nations: Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. The main goal was to investigate how participant organizations could work together to improve their performance and quality of work by looking back on their previous actions and activities. Participants from various organizations had the chance to find out what happened and why, learn how to strengthen their areas of strength and address their areas of weakness, as well as explore ways to work more effectively as a team.

When discussing the workshop, participants agreed that it had been very beneficial as the beginning of a longer process of collaboration. Most participants agreed that it had aided in fostering closer working relationships between NGOs, and many advocated for expanding participation to include outsiders as well as representatives from other organizations. Additionally, it was anticipated that the workshop’s outputs would contribute significantly to the multi-agency evaluation that was slated as well as other forthcoming projects and working groups.

What is an “After Action Report” -AAR? Learn from Every Mistake

Types of after-action reviews

In the context of the U. S. After-action reviews in the military are frequently divided into two categories: formal and informal. After-action reviews of both kinds discuss what was anticipated, what actually occurred, what went well, and what could have been done better. Based on the number of employees and the objective of the review, businesses can also use both types of reviews.

Heres more information about the two types of after-action reviews:

Formal after-action reviews

Compared to an informal after-action review, a formal after-action review typically involves more detail and resources. A formal after-action review in the military typically involves the use of training aids, advance planning, and a longer period of time. Coordination between various departments and the gathering of supporting documents for the meeting might be required for a formal after-action review in business, for instance.

Informal after-action reviews

Informal after-action reviews often precede formal after-action reviews. They take less time to set up and frequently use fewer resources from outside sources. Before attending a larger, company-wide meeting to discuss the same marketing event, members of a particular department might meet for an informal after-action review at the company.

What is an after-action review?

An after-action review is a discussion that takes place following an event and covers what happened, why it occurred, and how it could have been handled more effectively by those involved. The U.S. Army first used the procedure in a formally structured manner. S. Army to support soldiers’ ability to quickly process events and apply those lessons to new situations Many different organizational leaders use after-action reviews, which are now widely used in business. These leaders may frequently debrief and share lessons learned across various departments.

How to conduct an after-action review

Consider using the procedures used in the military to conduct an after-action review in your own company. These include talking about what you anticipated would happen, what actually happened, what went well, and what could have been done even better. Although you can schedule an after-action review whenever you like, it is typical to finish them quickly so the business can effectively apply the lessons learned. The following actions can be taken to carry out an after-action review:

1. Arrange logistics

Before holding an after-action review, whether formal or informal, it can be helpful to plan the meeting’s logistics. In order for everyone involved in the event to attend, this might entail adjusting complicated schedules. Digital tools can help coordinate the schedules of everyone involved. After-action reviews are frequently held in person, but if you’re working with employees spread across multiple locations, it may be possible to hold them via video call or other remote tools. You might also want to compile any necessary supplementary materials, like action notes or pertinent information, and give them to attendees beforehand.

2. Discuss what was expected

The first order of business when you meet for the after-action review is typically to discuss what outcomes were anticipated from a specific event. For instance, if you are meeting to discuss a membership drive for your company, you could talk about the number of new memberships you anticipated before the event. It might be helpful to establish conventions at this point in the meeting, such as expected participation and respectful interaction.

3. Discuss what happened

Once everyone has a shared understanding of what was anticipated prior to the event, you can talk about what actually transpired. You could, for example, talk about the actual new subscriptions that resulted from the most recent membership drive. You could also talk about details like worker participation, vendor interruptions, or other elements.

4. Discuss what went well and why

For a discussion about what went well, the context of what the group anticipated and what actually transpired can be a useful starting point. You could try to determine what factors persuaded those extra customers to subscribe to your service if you held a membership drive expecting to only get 50 new subscriptions instead of 100. You might talk about the factors that went into the supply decisions if your vendor costs were lower than you had anticipated, and how you can replicate them in the future.

5. Discuss what could have gone better and why

Next, you can talk about the event’s shortcomings and make an effort to explain them. For instance, you might try to determine what prevented new customers from signing up if you expected to gain 100 new subscriptions at a membership drive but only gained 50. You might discover that a culture of open dialogue encourages more employees to participate in the discussion and offer solutions to keep errors from happening again.

6. Disseminate the information

Most after-action reviews aim to quickly learn from a situation and impart those lessons to the entire organization. By quickly compiling the meeting’s outcomes and clearly organizing them, you can maximize the value of your after-action review. Then, a larger audience can receive those findings and any associated outcomes. People who receive the information can use it to improve their own work and the company as a whole by applying the lessons learned.


What are the 4 parts of an After Action Review?

An efficient method for documenting the lessons learned from activities and projects is after action reviews. AARs incorporate continuous learning from the outset, as opposed to waiting until the end of a protracted project to assess how the team performed.

What are the 5 AAR questions?

There are two types of AARs, formal and informal. A formal AAR requires a lot of resources, including planning, organizing, and setting up the AAR site, supporting training materials, and support staff. Informal AARs require less preparation and planning.

What should be included in an After Action Review?

What was anticipated to happen, what actually happened, what went wrong and why it went wrong, and what went well and why that went well are the four main focuses of the AAR.

What’s the purpose of an After Action Review?

Beginning—The AAR will attempt to respond to five major issues: 1) what was anticipated, 2) what actually transpired, 3) what went well, 4) what did not go well, and 5) what needs to be changed going forward.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *