Here‘s a provocative and often amusing list of 100 ways how not to learn from mistakes and successes by Nick Milton of Knoco. Turning things on their head is a good idea and certainly very illuminating!
The list is quite exhaustive although doubtless not complete. Here’s a short extract, to give a flavour:
5. For significant projects involving a large number of people, allow no more than half an hour, once a year, for lessons capture. Any more than this would just mean getting into detail.
6. If the five questions of the after action review are OK for learning from a short task, then surely they are OK for learning from a complex multi-million dollar ten-year project as well. Why complicate your learning?
7. If you are holding a lessons-capture meeting for a project, and there is a similar project is starting up soon, then you need to ensure that nobody from the similar project is invited to the meeting. They would get too excited, and so spoil the atmosphere of calm disinterested detachment.
8. Ideally, allow people to identify lessons themselves, rather than discussing them through dialogue or at a meeting. That way you will be sure to stay at the superficial level, and never capture the “deep lessons”.