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What Is An After Action Report?

According to, an action report is any form of retrospective analysis on a given sequence of goal-oriented actions previously undertaken, generally by the author themselves. It could also be called an enhancement plan that tries to follow from past encounters with certain steps and guidelines. Additionally, it is an action plan that, provides a clear roadmap for how to get there, regardless of the final objective.

How To Make An After Action Report

action report template

Writing an after-action report has varied purposes. According to the Office of Emergency Management of the University of Houston, the purpose of the after-action report is to analyze the management or response to an incident, exercise or event by identifying strengths to be maintained and built upon, as well as identifying potential areas of improvement. Another study stated that an AAR is used to provide feedback to participating entities on their performance during the exercise. It also summarizes exercise events and analyzes the performance of the tasks identified as important during the planning process.

It is important that you know how to write an action report before you plan to write one. We have prepared the easy steps for you below. Here's how!

1. Set Your Goal

Before anything else, choose an appropriate goal and define your objectives as well. Make sure that you are examining how attainable your goals are considering the time frame, schedule, and resources you're going to work with. Then plan your actions to achieve your objectives and follow everything as you work through them.

2. Use a Team

Now, you may plan to create a team for your after-action report. Assign the task to every member for them to feel a sense of responsibility and camaraderie. Make sure that every member provides helpful ideas in making your sample report purposeful. Always know that two heads are better than one.

3. Select Steps

Choose action steps that are objective, measurable and achievable. These steps should be described obviously, not vague opinions. Moreover, identify who is responsible for each action step and who will be assisting them. Know that support people are not liable for the results of an intervention, but it helps in the process.

4. Provide a Schedule

Identifying what needs to be done is not sufficient. It is just as essential to find out when to accomplish the tasks. It is where scheduling comes in. We are dealing with specific dates and particular time frames when we speak about scheduling. According to Kate Eby in Smartsheet, our ultimate objective may be to finish a short-term project or may take years. For each step along the process, breaking down the project timeline is essential.

5. Review And Update

Take the moment to review your action report from time to time, looking back over the previous year to see achievements and failures. Evaluate what went wrong and what went right, then create your development plan. Additionally, set the scheme, then at least quarterly review it.

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