Reflecting on the links between intentions and outcomes is a key practice of a learning organization (Garvin 2000). The After-Action Review (AAR) is a formal reflection process intended to assist groups in capturing lessons learned from a task. AARs typically ask four questions regarding fire-response operations: (1) what did we set out to do, (2) what actually happened, (3) why is there a difference between the first two, and (4) what should we continue/what should we change? Since the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center sponsored training workshops on AARs for the fire community in 2002, the practice seems to have been widely adopted. You can hear the term almost every where you go these days, from engine bays to incident command posts. But just how widely has the practice been implemented? Are all levels and all functions in the fire organization conducting AARs? How good are AARs as currently practiced at getting at root causes of discrepancies, and is the practice having a positive impact on performance?
Black, Anne E.; Sutcliffe, Kathleen; Barton, Michelle. 2009. After-Action Reviews - who conducts them? Fire Management Today. 69(3): 15-17.