The After Action Review 

The After-Action Review (AAR) is a planned occurrence that brings teams together to analyze and reflect on a recent event. The purpose of this is to analyze what happened during the process and to understand the reasons. The Review Technique gives participants a structured way to learn from the experience and promotes lean process improvement.

In this module you’ll learn: 

  • How and where the AAR originated
  • The criteria for using this technique
  • The importance of encouraging the daily learning that characterizes a lean organization

Number of Modules: 1  / Approximate run time: 30 minutes

Understanding the AAR

The After-Action Review originated in the U.S. Army, with the goal of creating shared learning from an experience. To achieve collective learning, the military implemented a structured discussion process after each mission. The discussion centers around four specific questions:

  1. What was supposed to happen?  
  2. What did happen and why?
  3. What can we learn? 
  4. What will we do differently?

These questions provide focus and eliminate the time waste that accompanies unstructured discussions. Improvements identified during the dialog encourage lean operations and enhance the processes and activities examined.

Benefits of AAR

Integrating the After-Action Review into an organization helps companies use time wisely by creating an effective structure for learning. The simple, four-question technique keeps participants focused, and the learning happens by understanding the gap between questions #1 and #2. Reaching a conclusion establishes high agreement as outlined in the lean principles and offers a roadmap to future process improvements

The AAR is applicable in any organization, such as,  commercial, industrial, service, or manufacturing. Participants learn from their experience in a structured, direct manner that enables them to change the way they respond in the future. 

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