After action review

Assessing the response

Moving forward from a crisis, a company that invests time and energy into considering upcoming risks — and determining the right actions for each — is more likely to turn potential surprises into strategic opportunities.

In an after action review, organisations analyse how they performed during a crisis response. Collecting data and insights from lessons learned can help businesses recover, and help leaders identify and prioritise actionable areas for improvement.

51% of organisations established an after action review process prior to the pandemic.

Source: PwC’s Global Crisis Survey 2021

Review, analyse, add value

Organisations that have experienced a major disruption recognise that no matter how effective their response, they can always do better. 

The after action review enables two perspectives — each an opportunity to improve your understanding of the business and other functional areas:

In-flight review
During a crisis that requires a prolonged response, the in-flight review helps you assess your performance and make corrections in real time.

After action/Post-incident review
With a review of how well your response capabilities and processes performed, you can identify actionable areas for improvement and bolster your confidence for the next crisis.

Address challenges, capitalise on strengths

“We didn’t have the right subject matter experts on the crisis team.”

“Roles and responsibilities were unclear, and we encountered bottlenecks in making decisions.”

“Our COVID-19 crisis response team structure served our organisation well, and we’ll leverage it for future disruptions — beyond health crises.”

“We left some key stakeholders with unanswered questions.”

These are some of the common themes that emerge from an after action review process. 

Identifying challenges and gaps is the first step toward overcoming them. And by identifying strengths, your organisation can capitalise on what you’ve learned.

When you document and integrate your learnings, both negative and positive, you’ll be better prepared for the next crisis.

Continuous learning and accountability

The after action review produces actionable insights you can apply to your organisation, with a focus on promoting continuous learning and accountability.

The review is fully scalable and customised to suit your needs, depending on the severity of the crisis and other variables.

Applying the elements we’ve learned are critical to a crisis response, PwC’s framework is informed by our team’s experience supporting clients through significant disruptions. 

The after action review report includes:

  • Incident timeline

  • Log of key decisions and actions

  • Observations

  • Lessons learned

  • Prioritised recommendations

The right tools and insights to meet your needs

PwC’s Global Centre for Crisis and Resilience has guided clients through major disruptions, including regulatory investigations, cyber attacks, fraud and compliance failures. 

We bring that experience to every after action review: the knowledge to help you apply structure and gain clarity in volatile situations, and to mitigate and manage your risk.

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Contact us

Dave Stainback

Dave Stainback

Global Crisis & Resilience Co-Leader, PwC United States

Tel: +1 678 419 1355

Bobbie Ramsden-Knowles

Bobbie Ramsden-Knowles

Global Crisis & Resilience Co-Leader, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7483 422701