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Feb 25th, 2013 Share: Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn

After Action Review

I’m back from an incredible week in Iceland. Time for some fresh Heretic fun!

The military developed a highly effective tool to maximize learning from their training operations: The After Action Review (AAR). The basic premise is simple. After each exercise participants in the exercise get together to analyze what has happened, why it has happened and how it can be done better. The AAR is a staple in military operations around the world.

And it is something you should adopt in your endeavors as well. All too often I see entrepreneurs trapped in the world of “lean startups”, iterating quickly but never taking the time to do a proper debrief and thus forfeiting the main purpose of the whole process: Structured learning.

After each round of prototyping, each experiment, each iteration simply answer the following questions:

  • What was planned?
  • What actually occurred? (facts not judgments)
  • What went well and why?
  • What can be improved and how?

This simple process will significantly improve your results. As it did over and over again for armies around the world.

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