• Joe Rizzo. Director of the New England Lean

From the Director’s Chair: “War is Over”

This month, we will celebrate one of the most anticipated and most celebrated holidays of the year, Christmas. This holiday is filled with happiness, joy, love and optimism for the future. John Lennon and Yoko Ono captured the spirit of Christmas with their song, “War is Over” with the lyrics shown below. They also captured the thought that this time of year is also a time of reflection. It is a time of the year where we should look back and see if we accomplished the goals and objectives of our Lean, Continuous Improvement or Operational Excellence Programs.

“War is Over”

By John Lennon and Yoko Ono

So this is Christmas

And what have you done?

Another year over

And a new one just begun

And so this is Christmas

I hope you have fun

The near and the dear one

The old and the young

A very Merry Christmas

And a happy new year

Let's hope it's a good one

Without any fear

“Reflections on your Lean Program”

By Joe Rizzo

So this is your Lean Program

And what have you done

Another year over

And a new one begun

And so this is your Lean Program

I hope you had fun

With the Management and the Lean Team

The old and the young

A very successful Lean Program

And a Happy New Year

Let’s hope it’s a good one

Better than this year.

One of the tools that will help us look back and see what we did well and what we could have done better is the After Action Review. The AAR is a structured approach for reflecting on the work of a group and identifying strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement.

An AAR is centered on four questions:

  1. What was expected to happen?

  2. What actually occurred?

  3. What went well and why?

  4. What can be improved and how?

An AAR features:

  • An open and honest professional discussion

  • Participation by everyone on the team

  • A focus on results of an event or project

  • Identification of ways to sustain what was done well

  • Development of recommendations on ways to overcome obstacles

A free guide to conducting an After Action Review is available here:

[PDF]Guide to the After Action Review - Center for Evidence Based

Organizational learning requires that teams continuously assess their performance to identify and learn from successes and failures. The After Action Review (AAR) is a simple but powerful tool to help you do this. Conducting an AAR at the end of a project, program or event can help you and your team learn from your efforts.

So, for 2108, before you conduct your Policy Deployment event, conduct an After Action Review and go into the Policy Deployment event with a good understanding of the capabilities of your organization and a good idea of the goals and objectives for your Lean Program in 2018.