It is the end of the 1st quarter which is a great time to pause and take inventory regarding progress on our goals. I recommend using an After-Action-Review.
What sets this process apart from other review activities is that it involves everyone (various perspectives) and it is a discussion intended to gather feedback and lessons learned. Another key component is that it is a communication tool designed to be shared quickly.
Planning the Review Meeting:
- Include everyone involved in the work/goals being reviewed. It is important that all participants are equal during the review (all titles need to be left at the door). We may want to consider asking someone not involved in the work to facilitate the conversation.
- Begin by setting the intent of the review.
- Set the stage by reminding the participants that the purpose is to gather different perspectives – it is important to be honest. Everyone in the room is equal (all titles were left outside the door). Sharing our various experiences and thoughts is a key part of this process and what makes it so effective.
- This is about sharing, listening, and asking questions to understand what others are saying. There are no wrong perspectives.
- The questions
- What did we expect to happen? This grounds us in the beginning of the project or timeframe. Review project objectives, goals, timelines, etc.
- What actually occurred? Consider the good and the bad – this is about gathering the facts (no judgment).
- What went well and why? This is focusing us on the cause of our successes. Understanding the driver(s) of what went well increases our opportunity to repeat and build on that success.
- What can be improved and how will we do that? Again, the focus is on identifying specific actions to try.
- Create a summary report. What should be repeated and what changes should be made. Ideally, this is completed at the end of the meeting. Remember, this is a working document to inform the next steps.
- Implement the changes A note of caution here…this is one of those steps that is easy to do and easy not to do. What, exactly, do you need to do to implement what is learned in this process? Be specific with the “what” and assign someone (by name) to be accountable for the implementation.
Acting and pausing to assess possible improvements and shifts to inform the next cycle of action is an effective way to achieve our goals!