Learning more from a post-action debrief

Generally when I review an action or event, I use a simple plus/delta evaluation: what went well and what could we change (delta is the mathematical sign for change, it’s more pro-active than saying plus/minus).

In You Don’t Have to Do It Alone, the authors offer a more elaborate reflection tool. It asks:

  • What did we plan for?
  • What happened?
  • Why did it happen?
  • What were the key events?
  • What assumptions did we make?
  • What have we learned?

What I like about this model is that it puts more emphasis on not just learning from what happened at the event, but also learning and refining the planning that brought us to the event. It goes deeper.

The authors also point out that it is vital to include different people in this review. You will find very different answers to the question, “what happened” depending on who you ask.

Will I actually use this evaluation system?

I don’t know.

Sometimes it can be a struggle to get an all-volunteer group to do any review at all. I will copy these questions into my Palm so that I can have them ready and try them out for a future event (if I remember that they are there).

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