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You can find an introduction to Action Review Meetings in Chapter 20 of Where the Action Is. These resources will help you plan, run, and troubleshoot the specific Action Review Meetings your team needs.


An Action Review Meeting is used by teams to learn from experience and use what they've learned to improve future work.

Questions Answered

  • What was our plan?
  • What did we learn?
  • What should we change in our approach going forward?


  • Project and Agile Retrospectives
  • After Action Reviews and Before Action Reviews (Military)
  • Pre-Surgery Meetings (Healthcare)
  • Win/Loss Review (Sales)
  • Design Critiques, Charettes (Design & Architecture)

Core Process

Most action review meetings follow a process that includes these steps.

  1. What? What happened or What are we planning?
  2. So what? What do we think and feel about this situation?
  3. Now what? What should we do next?


  • Learning: gain insight.
  • Develop confidence.
  • Generate recommendations for change.

Work Outcomes

  • Process improvement.
  • Increased team efficiency.
  • Improved operational performance.

Human Outcomes

  • Shared commitment to quality.
  • Continuous learning and individual skill improvement.
  • Deepened connection to the shared mission and each other.

Meeting Agenda Templates and Guides

How to Run a Quick Retro on Your Working Team Agreement

Elise Keith - Teams use this process to review and update their working team agreement. This conversation can be scheduled as a stand-alone meeting or as part of a regular team meeting.

How to Run a Successful Project Retrospective

Elise Keith - This meeting agenda template helps teams learn from project successes and failures together, and commit to change based on what they learned. Use this template as a starting place when designing your next project retrospective, and adapt the agenda to fit your team.

Lucid Blog Posts

Elise Keith (2021). The teams that operate in uncertain conditions never know what they'll face when they show up to work. Firefighters, athletes, investigators: they can't plan what will happen each day. Instead, they develop skills for performing in a variety of situations, tools for assessing the situation they find themselves in, and then respond with their best guess at what they believe will work in the moment.

Enrico Teotti (2020). In this short post I'll describe one way to run an annual retrospective so you and your group can reflect on what happened this past year, discuss what you make of it, and begin to decide what the next wise actions to take next year might be.

Elise Keith (2020). On April 1, 2020, we hosted a webinar with principals at the Mission Critical Teams Institute. We explored the communication practices business teams can learn from mission critical teams (firefighters, military, medical, and others who handle emergencies for a living) as we all work to adapt in times of rapid change.

Elise Keith (2019). At Lucid Meetings, our mission is to make it easy for teams to run successful meetings every day. Teaching teams the skills they need to run successful meetings seems like an obvious way for us to fulfill this mission, which is why we've now opened our first courses to students. We opened Meeting School now because, after over a decade of research and work with high-performing organizations, we know what works.

Elise Keith (2016). The Project Retrospective dedicates time to reviewing a completed project and learning from both the successes and the failures so the team and organization can improve how they work going forward.

Glossary of Meeting Terms


The 4Ls technique is a brainstorming technique for collecting feedback on a recently completed project or piece of work. People in the meeting are asked to brainstorm feedback in four categories: things they Liked,...
Circles and Soup is an exercise teams use to the identify the parts of their work they can control directly, the factors they can influence, and those which are outside of their control. Once these factors are sorted...
The Peaks and Valleys exercise gives groups a simple visual way to share each person's unique view on the highs and lows of an experience. Groups use this exercise to help visualize events over time and see how each...
PMI is a brainstorming technique for gathering feedback on an idea, concept, or when a team takes a retrospective look at a recently completed set of work. After introducing the idea, the group is asked to write...
Stop, Start, Continue is an exercise used to evaluate a group's activities and make decisions about which ones to prioritize going forward. Steps include: Step 1: Setup Create three blank lists labeled Start,...

Meeting Type

An After-Action Review lays out a structured de-briefing process for analyzing an event. Participants discuss what happened, why it happened, and what can be done better in the future. After-Action Reviews were...
A Post Mortem, in the context of meetings, is a process usually conducted at the conclusion of a project to determine which parts of the project were successful or unsuccessful. Project post-mortems are intended to...
A retrospective is a meeting that's held at the end of an iteration in Agile software development or at the completion of a project. During the retrospective, the team reflects on what happened in the iteration and...