Inspired by Gary Klein’s debriefing questions in Sidney Dekker’s
The Field Guide To Understanding Human Error, below is a non-exhaustive list to help stimulate deep analysis. Ask “how” and “what” questions, rather than “who” or “why,” to discourage blame and encourage learning.
Download as a PDF.
What were you focusing on?
What was not noticed?
What differed from what was expected?
Was this an anticipated class of problem or did it uncover a class of issue that was not architecturally anticipated?
What expectations did participants have about how things were going to develop?
Were there similar incidents in the past?
What goals governed your actions at the time?
How did time pressure or other limitations influence choices?
Was there work the team chose not to do in the past that could have prevented or mitigated this incident?
What mistakes (for example, in interpretation) were likely?
How did you view the health of the services involved prior to the incident?
Did this incident teach you something that should change views about this service’s health?
How did you judge you could influence the course of events?
What options were taken to influence the course of events? How did you determine that these were the best options at the time?
How did other influences (operational or organizational) help determine how you interpreted the situation and how you acted?
Did you ask anyone for help?
What signal brought you to ask for support?
Were you able to contact the people you needed to contact?
Did the way that people collaborate, communicate, and/or review work contribute to the incident?
What worked well in your incident response process and what did not work well?
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