After action reviews were first developed by the U.S. Army to optimize training exercises, but over the years, they’ve become a go-to post-mortem practice for businesses. They’re part of the retrospective process to evaluate completed projects in more tangible terms, such as technical corrections or lessons learned.
Creating after-action reports can be mentally straining because you often have to brainstorm with a large team to problem-solve. Luckily, templates can make the job a whole lot easier!
After-action report templates offer a structured approach to retrospective analysis, saving you time with a pre-designed format with sections and headings already in place.
In this article, we’ll explore the 10 best business after-action report templates that help you reflect on completed projects efficiently, leaving you with more resources for decision-making and performance improvement. 📈
- What Is an After Action Report Template?
- What Makes a Good After-Action Report Template?
- 10 Top-Quality After-Action Report Templates to Use in 2023
- 1. ClickUp After Action Report Template
- 2. ClickUp Simpler After Action Report Template
- 3. ClickUp Daily Action Plan Template
- 4. ClickUp Action Plan Template
- 5. ClickUp Return to Work Action Plan Template
- 6. ClickUp Construction Action Plan Template
- 7. ClickUp Project Post Mortem Template
- 8. After Action Review Report Improvement Plan Template by SlideTeam
- 9. Word After Action Report Template by SpeedyTemplate
- 10. After Action Report Template by AlertMedia
What Is an After Action Report Template?
After-action reports (AARs) are organizational learning tools to help evaluate projects, incidents, and processes. They encourage looking back at past experiences to identify successes and failures, reinforce practices that work, and pinpoint potential risks for future projects.
A business after-action report template is a pre-built and formatted document that provides a framework for creating AARs. It outlines the headings, sections, and key information to be included for reporting, making it easier for teams to conduct post-project analysis and document their findings. 🔎
Most AAR templates are crafted to deliver the answer to four questions:
- What were our anticipated outcomes?
- What were the actual results?
- What went well, and why?
- How can we improve?
The templates may also include components for planning, preparation, implementation, and follow-up to ensure a comprehensive review and improvement process for ongoing projects.
What Makes a Good After-Action Report Template?
For an after-action report template to be functional, it should be:
- Clear and simple: The template should have a clear structure containing all essential sections like observations, event details, lessons learned, and recommendations
- Customizable: A good AAR template is typically customizable to fit your company’s branding and decision-making approach and can adapt to a project’s unique needs
- Supportive: It should provide prompts or questions to guide users in their AAR analysis
- Collaborative: It should allow inputs from team leaders, employees, and other stakeholders to promote comprehensive reporting. Features to add comments and sticky notes are ideal
- Visually engaging: You must be able to incorporate tables, charts, and diagrams to make the AAR engaging and informative
- Referenceable: It allows for cross-referencing, serving as a repository of lessons learned, corrective measures, and action plans for future projects
10 Top-Quality After-Action Report Templates to Use in 2023
The overwhelming number of AAR templates available can make you feel like a kid in a candy store. 🍭
Lucky for you, we’ve compiled a list of 10 templates for after-action reports from top providers like ClickUp and SlideTeam to help you assess the performance of your finished projects. Let’s explore their handy features and potential use cases below.
1. ClickUp After Action Report Template
The ClickUp After Action Report Template is a versatile tool for exploring the outcomes of any project or internal process. It follows a tried-and-tested action review process to access key knowledge from your teammates without overwhelming them.
This beginner-friendly Doc template helps you craft an all-encompassing document with premade sections for participants, project objectives, stakeholders, scope, and workshop ideas. 💡
The template sets the stage for assessing project performance by comparing the expected and actual outcomes. You can identify objectives and expected results before or during the project and turn them into tasks. Use Custom Statuses to track their progress till the project ends.
Once you’re ready for the AAR exercise, your team can review the outcomes on a single page and arrive at conclusions right away. This action review will help you on future projects and identify lessons learned.
Finish up your report with a conclusion summarizing the main discussion points and present an actionable future plan to your team.
This Doc template can be a part of your knowledge repository in ClickUp Docs to draw conclusions better. Your assessment data and lessons learned remain centralized for future performance reference.
Since ClickUp integrates with popular email services and video conferencing tools, you can share the finished action review template with your project team stakeholders in a couple of clicks.
2. ClickUp Simpler After Action Report Template
Evaluate the success of your project, event, or activity with the minimalistic yet functional ClickUp Simple After Action Report Template.
This easy-to-use Doc template is divided into four sub-pages for detailed AAR reporting. Let’s say your tech company is reviewing the launch of its latest smartphone. Here’s see how these sub-pages would be useful:
- Exercise Overview: Enter the essential background information, such as:
- Exercise scope: The launch of XYZ smartphone model
- Start date: DD/MM/YY
- End date: DD/MM/YY
- Mission area: Mobile Technology Market
- Objectives and goals: Achieve a 10% increase in market share within the first three months
- Potential risks: Technical glitches and unpredictable demand
- Core Capability Analysis: Evaluate the challenges associated with different aspects of the exercise, such as product design and market promotion
- Core Capability Report: Delve into specific capabilities, such as marketing, highlighting strengths, areas for improvement (e.g., targeted marketing for specific customer segments), and references for improvement (e.g., industry best practices)
- Improvement Plan: Incorporate a concise overview of the improvement plan, outlining areas like:
- Focus (for example, an increase in sales by 20% in the next quarter)
- The department it pertains to (marketing, product development, or supply chain)
The template is fully customizable, so tweak any part of the document to align with your AAR approach. Add columns to your tables, rename headings, create brand-new pages, or delete unwanted sections to fit your project. 🎨
3. ClickUp Daily Action Plan Template
If you’re running a large project with multiple moving parts, you need a more hands-on monitoring AAR process before meetings. Break down complex projects into manageable tasks with the ClickUp Daily Action Plan Template.
Use this List template to add tasks with specific due dates. Custom Fields are at your disposal to assist you in setting priorities with color-coded tags, managing workloads, and tracking important dates. Use comment threads to detect and review completion risks.
See all your tasks as cards organized by departments in the Goals Board view. The cards provide a snapshot of task information, with the option to note extra details, attach files, and add notes. Update departmental tasks effortlessly through a straightforward drag-and-drop action.
Open the Timeline Gantt view to examine task dependencies and gain clear insights into the slightest deviations in the project roadmap or outcomes, enabling you to focus on resolving them.
4. ClickUp Action Plan Template
Review daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly action plans using the ClickUp Action Plan Template. This interactive Whiteboard template can make your AAR process highly visual and engaging by serving as a 100% customizable canvas to record reviews. Map out your processes, use connectors to link reviews with tasks, or leverage shapes and colors for categorization. 🌈
This template enables adding sticky notes to identify stakeholders or tasks. Move them around by dragging and dropping to change their progress status from To Do and Doing to Done.
Add or modify text, or use a Draw feature to circle, underline, or connect items for easier navigation. The template has built-in analytics and visualizations to track progress metrics and measure results.
5. ClickUp Return to Work Action Plan Template
Managing hybrid teams that switch between remote and on-site work can be a challenge, as is assisting employees who return to work after an extended break. The ClickUp Return to Work Action Plan Template is specifically crafted for businesses that need support with:
- Workspace management
- Safe return to work after a disruption
- Return-to-work planning for individual workers
This color-coded List template will help you identify and implement essential steps for any return-to-work scenario, ensuring safety and coherence throughout the process.
It offers a harmonious blend of flexibility and organization, providing fields and statuses to establish objectives, a clear schedule of tasks, and action steps. Track assignees to see if they need help, allocate resources, and choose the department head in charge of each task.
Track tasks in the Timeline Gantt view and make a realistic schedule through a simple drag-and-drop interface. See how an employee or department is adapting to work by opening the Goals board view, which displays task completion metrics.
The template allows setting up Recurring Tasks for regular check-ins with your team, improving the efficiency of your after action reviews.
6. ClickUp Construction Action Plan Template
The ClickUp Construction Action Plan Template helps construction teams outline the steps and strategies necessary to achieve commitments, laying the groundwork for effective review cycles. 👷
Use the template as a central hub to assign tasks with deadlines, set budgets, and organize subtasks for increased visibility. You get default sections to address:
- Scope of work
- Plans for managing resources
- Cost estimates
- Schedule updates
- Meeting minutes and agendas
- Data collection forms
These sections help you review actual activities against the planned outcomes in real time. Your teammates can use the comment feature in ClickUp to add contextual updates about revisions, prices, or inventory adjustments to create fast-track after action reports.
Manage your construction projects with the Goal view and see completion statuses grouped by the departments in charge. Use the dynamic Timeline Gantt view for easier tracking of your milestones. It’s a super visual tool for scheduling tasks by dragging and dropping them on the preferred date.
7. ClickUp Project Post Mortem Template
Learn from past mistakes and identify areas for improvement with the ClickUp Project Post Mortem Template. It’s the best tool for reflecting on after-action review meetings once your project has officially ended.
Start by sending your team the Insight Input Form—a document containing priority and non-priority topics for discussion alongside department tags. The recorded answers are available in the Entries list.
This post-mortem template lets you separate project insights into the following categories:
- Success: Accomplishments deserving of recognition
- Challenge: Obstacles encountered throughout the project
- Post-Project Task: Pending tasks after project completion
- Team Performance: Aspects pertaining to overall teamwork
- Learnings: Summarized takeaways
During your post-mortem meeting, the Status board can function as a discussion platform. Use the New Entry column to add a review component and reposition it to the appropriate status using drag-and-drop.
The Post-Mortem Meeting Board serves as an overview of the entire list, summarizing the project’s highlights, lowlights, and obstacles. The Pending Tasks board exhibits the action items agreed upon after project completion.
8. After Action Review Report Improvement Plan Template by SlideTeam
The After Action Review Report Improvement Plan Template by SlideTeam is a customizable PowerPoint presentation to visually present and discuss improvement ideas with your team.
The template splits your AAR discussion into five stages:
- Core Capability: Establish the fundamental resource or competence you must have to accurately assess and improve performance after an event or project (e.g., a data analysis tool or critical thinking abilities)
- Area of Improvement: Identify parts of your project that didn’t perform well
- Corrective Action: Suggest steps to take in order to correct problem areas in the future
- Capability Element: Recognize essential attributes required to achieve strategic objectives (e.g., more decisive leaders or stronger workforce management)
- Primary Responsible Employee: Assign employees in charge of improving each element
You can adapt the template to match your branding by changing the font, letter size, colors, or any element to your liking. Use your own icons, or add shapes and graphs for a more engaging presentation. 📊
9. Word After Action Report Template by SpeedyTemplate
If you’re looking to evaluate and improve your business plan, the Word After Action Report Template by SpeedyTemplate may help.
The template is designed to support business continuity plan (BCP) exercises. For the uninitiated, a BCP is used to test, assess, and validate the effectiveness of your current operations and processes so that you are prepared to respond to and recover from crisis situations.
This AAR template documents situation-response interactions, evaluating the efficiency and effectiveness of response strategies and suggesting recommendations for improvement.
Use the template to enter crucial information like the business continuity plan drill, the date and location of the exercise, and the participants involved. Fill in the premade fields in the document body detailing the exercise type, setting, and overview.
Provide a summary of what you’ve learned in the next section. Describe the plan’s limitations, successes, and how well the exercise aligns with your team’s communication patterns. Then, present the discovered issues alongside the corrective actions to resolve them. ✅
10. After Action Report Template by AlertMedia
Want to be more threat-ready for crisis circumstances? Pinpoint gaps in your emergency response using the After Action Report Template by AlertMedia, and derive insights from errors to guarantee your organization is more equipped for future critical events. ⚒️
Use the template to record the knowledge gained from actual emergencies or practice drills, along with the measures you can implement to leverage strengths and address shortcomings within your emergency response plan. This helps you formulate a strategy for enhancing your readiness if a similar situation arises in the future.
The template assists you in writing a comprehensive after-action plan and ensures you cover the following essential sections:
- Post-incident recap: Discuss what was expected from the team leader and the project
- Incident review: Describe what went down
- Incident analysis: Provide technical details relevant to the incident for future actions
- Potential improvements: Go through the unsuccessful elements and discuss how your process can be improved
Turn Mistakes into Stepping Stones with These On-Point After-Action Plan Templates
Learning from past failures is the key to success, so enrich your evaluation techniques with our expert selection of after-action report templates. Whether you’re reflecting on a project, a process, or an undesirable predicament, these templates will be the guiding light leading you to corrective measures.