After an engagement or training session the military conducts an After Action Review (AAR) to assess what went well… and what didn’t go quite so well. Exactly the same concept could and should be adopted in business.
Carrying out a post-engagement review helps you quickly identify ways you can improve not only your efficiency, but also the perceived value that your client got from the engagement – it's about reviewing and analysing your effectiveness, in other words.
What to ask in an after action review
If you adopt a value pricing approach, the AAR is a critical part of your pricing system. It’s the only formal way at your disposal to assess what value was delivered, and whether the price you charged was reasonable to both you and your client.
It’s essentially a ‘learn-by-your-mistakes’ system of continuous improvement. Even if you use a time-based system for pricing your services, an AAR is enormously valuable. They are especially important when you start using Fixed Price Agreements (FPA).
The overview questions that the AAR should cover are:
- What happened?
- Why did it happen?
- What should we do about it?
- What feedback do we need to give to someone about it?
Some specific questions you could go through in an AAR are:
- Did we add value?
- Could we have added more?
- How could we have added more?
- Did we capture all of the value we could?
- Could we have captured more value if we priced higher?
- What are the implications for the product/service?
- How could we have increased our client’s perception of value?
- What did we teach this client?
- What other needs does this client have and are we addressing them?
- Should we communicate the implications/lessons on this FPA to our associates? How?
- If we did this type of FPA again, how would we do it?
- Did this FPA enhance our relationship with our client?
- What impact has this FPA had on the client’s trust in us?
- How was the client’s price sensitivity before the job and after?
- How has this FPA advanced us?
- How high were our costs for this FPA?
- Did we have the right team members on this FPA?
- What could we do better next time?
- Were there any client complaints? And if there were, how can they be addressed and prevented in the future?
- How can we thank the client for their business?
Keep in mind that the After Action Review is meant to be analytical, not critical. It’s meant to guide you in fixing problems and sharing good practices, not to assess blame.
When conducting an AAR, spend:
- 25% of the time reviewing what happened
- 25% of the time on why things happened the way they did
- 50% of the time on what you can learn and how you can improve
HOW TO Create aN end to end Value Pricing Process
Start adding more value for your firm and your clients, from first discussion to pricing review.
Our free guide Pricing Your Cloud Services: Perfecting Value Pricing covers everything you need to know about getting the price you deserve.
You'll find out:
- The key questions to ask your clients
- The secret to structuring pricing tiers
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