Incident Analysis Training and Coaching

Meaningful learning from incidents is only possible if the incidents are well understood.

Incident analysis and post-incident review meeting facilitation are skills that can be learned.

We have built a program that goes beyond the typical template-driven “post-mortem” approach found in many organizations and brings decades of experience in event reconstruction, systems safety research, resilience engineering, and accident investigation to the world of software engineering and operations.

The program focuses on building a cadre of incident analysts capable of carrying out these activities in the company and, ultimately, capable of promoting learning from incidents.

The project includes both training and coaching. Formal workshops kick-off and conclude the project. In between, participants work through the analysis and post-incident review meeting facilitation of incidents under the guidance of ACL principals. The close, individual attention will produce a high-intensity learning-by-doing experience. The project includes opportunities for participants to critique their performance, share their experiences, leverage learning from past incidents, and develop and refine tools for investigation and analysis.

These experts will become adept at:

  1. Building a coherent, detailed description of the event as it unfolded;
  2. Identifying the systemic factors that produced the event and shaped the response;
  3. Recognizing novel aspects of the incident and response that reveal systems behavior and the expertise of incident responders;
  4. Preparing presentation materials that show these in a context that encourages both exploration and productive discussion by others;
  5. Facilitating the exploration and discussion in a group setting; and
  6. Producing a succinct record that synthesizes the data, analyses, and insights produced.

For medium-sized organizations, this project takes approximately 6 weeks, depending on a few factors (see below).


Goals of the project are:

  • To improve the quality and efficiency of your company’s learning from incidents
  • To enhance, enrich, and amplify what your organization actually learns from incidents
  • To better share the insights generated and lessons learned from incidents within the company.

Objectives of the project are:

  • To establish a cadre with demonstrated capacity to do efficient incident analysis and post-incident facilitation;
  • To demonstrate that high-quality incident analysis and skilled facilitation can fuel post-incident learning;
  • To generate momentum for the practice of incident analysis and post-incident meeting facilitation.

Detailed performance objectives include participants’ ability to:

    1. collect, collate, and evaluate incident data
    2. identify critical intra-incident decisions, actions, and junctures
    3. develop and test incident narratives
    4. debrief participants
    5. create useful process traces
    6. extract and characterize key incident themes
    7. find, compare, and contrast related incidents
    8. prepare post-incident presentation materials
    9. facilitate post-incident meetings
    10. capture and summarize post-incident content
    11. revise and refine post-incident documents
    12. summarize findings (for multiple audiences if necessary)

Deliverables of the project are:

  • Initial focused training (workshop sessions with interactive exercises);
  • Coaching participants during analysis and post-incident facilitation of company incidents as they arise;
  • Participant-generated summaries of analysis and post-incident facilitation experience
  • Summary document including list of opportunities for further process improvement

(Deliverables obviously depend on the specific needs of the client and agreement of the engagement. These are just examples.)