The After Action Review (AAR) has become a standard process in healthcare and business creating a formal process after an event, project, or disaster to document and learn for the future. But in many cases lessons are not being learned and the time spent completing the AAR process does not lead to useful changes within an organization.

The Harvard Business Review published an excellent article in 2005 “Learning in the Thick of It” about the history and process of the After Action Report. The article stresses that the AAR should not simply be a report but a process to help an organization or group learn for the future.



After Action Review Resources

After Action Review Process Template by Business Survival Partners, LLC. 


Learning in the Thick of It – Harvard Business Review,  
Authors: Marilyn Darling, Charles Parry, Joseph Moore 

URL Link  – 


“Guide to the After Action Review” 


Susanne Salem-Schatz, ScD, VA Center for Implementation Practice and Research Support  

Diana Ordin, MD, MPH, VA Office of Quality and Performance  

Brian Mittman, Ph.D., VA Center for Implementation Practice and Research Support 

URL Link – 


Blameless PostMortems and a Just Culture 

Author: John Allspaw 

URL Link – 


Ask ‘why’ five times about every matter 

Author: Taiichi Ohno 

URL Link – 


5 Whys – Getting to the Root of a Problem Quickly 

Author: Mindtools Content Team 

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“When IT Disaster Strikes, Part 3: Conducting a Blameless Post-Mortem” 

Author: Eric Sigler 

URL Link –