Shamaym Blog

After Action Review, Only Better: Collaborative Real-Time Debriefing


The After-Action Review, a form of debriefing, is a known way for continuos improvement. But what happens when the whole team works remotely, and business realities change daily? It's time to get started with continuous Improvement processes with the #1 platform.

When your team is coming up against a challenging time, process, or milestone, it is critical to practice learning routines that position you for continuous improvement. If you’re not set up with tools to help you constantly learn and adjust, you won’t be prepared to face what lies ahead. There are many continuous improvement tools at your disposal, but one in particular helps take stock of an event or project after the fact, reflect on what happened, and—most importantly—use that reflection to move forward: the debrief, known to some as the after-action review (AAR).

The AAR or debrief is a highly useful tool to ensure that lessons from past performance are carried into future work. But it traditionally relies on teams meeting face to face to conduct it. What happens when the team can’t meet? What happens when things are changing so fast, that even virtual AAR’s don’t produce effective improvement and a practical action plan? Enter collaborative real-time debriefing: an upgraded version of the traditional AAR to meet today’s business challenges.

What’s an AAR?

An AAR is an organizational improvement tool that brings a team together to reflect on and discuss an event, milestone, or project. Traditionally, AAR’s take place in close proximity to the completion of the event, include the participation of all individuals involved in that event, and ask four questions: 

    1. What did we expect to happen? 
    2. What actually happened? 
    3. What went well and why? 
    4. What can be improved and how?


Conducting this process regularly can shift the mindset of individuals and teams, catalyze culture change, and link directly to improved business results. Just some of the benefits of debriefing include:

  • Improved individual, team, and organizational performance.
  • The emergence of creative ideas based on team learning that may have otherwise remained unspoken.
  • A framework for quickly changing course in an uncertain business environment.
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Pandemic-Proofing the AAR

In today’s business climate, just knowing about a great improvement process is not enough without a structure in which to implement it. Shamaym’s improvement platform creates that structure, bringing the AAR to the post-pandemic reality. It helps team members share knowledge in real-time, and empowers them to build up their competencies when face to face interactions and conventional improvement are not an option.

The Shamaym Platform is built to help team members write debriefs that are short, focused, and actionable after a meeting or task. It is a quick and iterative method for dissecting the successes and errors in work, and identifying concrete ways to change processes in the future. We built our debriefing process to reflect the way it is practiced in the field of combat aviation—an environment in which constant learning and adjusting is an absolute must because there is no room for error. This is the reality that many teams and organizations, even outside of the military, face today. 

Rather than leaving the quality of a debrief or AAR up to the uncertain tumult of a Zoom meeting, Shamaym’s  improvement platform brings the team together in a dedicated learning and improvement space. In that space team members can capture lessons learned in real-time, and immediately share them throughout the team and beyond, making sure that knowledge is not lost if someone forgot to record the call. Learning goes into a database of top-notch lessons that are then automatically resurfaced to team members when they are most needed.

Implement Collaborative Real-Time Debriefing

If your team has found AAR’s helpful in the past, now might be the perfect time to take them to the next level with collaborative real-time debriefing on the Shamaym Platform. By focusing on what matters most, making concrete improvement suggestions, sharing them throughout and beyond the team, and taking action—all recorded, all automatic—real-time debriefing is uniquely suited to a rapidly changing business environment, where today’s priorities might not be the same tomorrow.


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