5 Powerful Debrief Questions

Debriefing should be an important part of any remote project because, extraordinarily enough, we learn more from something once it’s all over than we do while it is taking place. And yet, we often complete something and move on without meeting to talk about and reflect on the way things happened.


But there really is importance in debriefing—and there’s art to it, too. You don’t want to skim over the good or the bad; find out what worked and what did not. Furthermore, you want to learn from it.


For example, a sports coach creates a game plan after watching the team play. They see what works and what doesn’t and then generate a strategy for the next game. As a manager and team lead, you want to do the same thing when you debrief.


Ask powerful questions post-project that emphasize learning and team building, rather than on gauging success. Don’t set this up for failure by making it a finger-pointing affair; rather, consider it as a way to work on strategy.

So, let’s take a look at those questions:


What were we trying to do?

Repeat the goals of the project and recap what you were trying to attain. It can be as simple as going over the original plan.


What happened?

What we plan isn’t always what ends up taking place. As Eisenhower said, “Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”

Use this to find out what actually happened. Knowing that other people were involved, there are multiple perspectives. This question helps gather facts and opinions to initiate a moment of reflection.


What did we learn from this?

Some learning opportunities will be obvious while others will be less specific and require a little more assessment.

Knowing what works and then finding answers about the aspects that are still confusing will lead you to discovery and help you arise with solutions. Be strong and concise about what still needs development.

What can we do differently next time?

This is important because it makes the insights you gathered stick. This way, you’ll remember it as you board on the next project and toward the next debrief. This will keep you

from falling into a pattern of doing things the “usual” way.


Now what?

Now for the sensible stuff. A debrief might result to actions that need to be made, and this is where you can decide who should do what. Set up accountability—decide on actions, set up tasks and determine deadlines.

A team should be a well-oiled machine. In order to have value, all of its parts should work well together. While working in a remote setting can sometimes be difficult, the good news it that it doesn’t always have to be. Let the VA Hub give you the help you need.

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