Debrief questions

Questions to ask individuals and teams at the end of a project to discover lessons learned and provide insight into what went well.

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Even when a project doesn't go as planned, facilitating a conversation about the project can be a positive learning experience for all concerned.

Individual questions

You could start by having everyone write down their responses to some of these individual questions. These can help foster insight about their own experiences, contributions and challenges. You can ask for volunteers to share some of their responses, have them provide this to you in writing only or, if your team has a high degree of trust, you could share them as a group. 

Suggested questions: 

  • What contribution did you make to the project?
  • What did you learn?
  • What will you do next time?
  • Who really shone in this project?
  • Who supported you during this time working on this project?
  • How did you manage the stress of this project?

Team questions

Learning from our failures and mistakes is an opportunity for growth and development, but so is learning from successes – our own or others (Soyer & Hogarth, 2020). A balanced approach to debriefing about projects is to discuss the project with your team, asking them:

  • What went well? (specific tasks or outcomes that were successful)
  • What contributed to what went well? (equipment, resources, time, skills, knowledge, etc.)
  • What did not go well? (specific tasks or outcomes that did not turn out as desired)
  • What contributed to what did not go well? (equipment, resources, time, skills, knowledge, competing demands, unforeseen complications, etc.)
  • What should we do differently next time?

Make it safe

As you facilitate discussion or gather feedback related to each of these questions, refrain from passing judgment. This is to create a safe environment where participants can candidly share their experiences and collaborate on solutions.

Take action

  1. Gather all the feedback and analyze it for themes and patterns.
  2. Consider what you can do with your current budget and situation.
  3. Communicate to your team what will be done differently next time.

Share this with anyone who leads a team or manages a project. 


  1. Soyer, E., & Hogarth, R. M. (2020). The myth of experience: Why we learn the wrong lessons, and ways to correct them. PublicAffairs
Contributors include.articlesMary Ann BayntonWorkplace Strategies team 2022 to present

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