The Hot Wash

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • How do I improve my meetings?
  • How do I improve my projects?
  • How do I get feedback on projects?

In this show, we're going to talk about the simplest, most elegant tool we know of to make something you do at work more efficient and more effective.

Once we explain it, you'll get it, and you'll be able to do it. It blows away two of our favorite tool criteria, effectiveness and efficiency. It works; that is, you'll get notable change out of this tool. So that makes it effective. And, it's terribly fast, without ANY fanfare or paperwork or staffing, so that makes it efficient as well. We like ANYTHING that is both effective and efficient.

The tool's nickname is "The Hot Wash". Its more formal name is Running an After Action Session.

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WWW: a fresh air in plus and delta

a fresh air in plus and delta field and annoying retrospective analysis
really hard to follow. I am not Piergiorgio but from Italy too....
May I suggest a HOT DRY ? Share the results of the Hot wash with upper management: it will increase the confidence in your managerial skills and project mgmt and hopefully your success

Bilbo- THanks for the


THanks for the feedback!

It's a privilege to serve you.


Where is the RSS feed for the

Where is the RSS feed for the Members-Only podcasts? I only see a feed for the main podcast.

Tom, Good question! Until


Good question! Until yesterday, it didn't exist -- one had to come to the website and download the members-only casts. Inconvienent, I know. :-(

Good news is that we've created one ... I'll post it in the members-only section shortly.


Thanks. I have the podcast feed

Thanks. I have the podcast feed now.

About this podcast, I was wondering if any listeners use the project management discipline called "Scrum" (For those who do not know what Scrum is, it is a simple form of agile software development featuring month-long development cycles). When I hear about "hot wash", I immediately thought of the part of Scrum called the "retrospective meeting". At the end of each development cycle, we do brainstorm-syle meeting to talk about what works and what doesn't in our project. I like the format and guidelines Mark gave for doing the hot wash, and I think it will improve our Scrum process when we do our monthly retrospective meetings.

I would love to hear from other "ScrumMasters" out there, and if they are applying hot wash, www/tala, or any other manager tools techniques to their Scrum process.


Tom- Of course I'm not a techie, so


Of course I'm not a techie, so I'm only tangentially aware of agile development processes. So, I haven't heard of scrum.

I look forward, though, to hearing how our stuff helps you become more effective.


During the podcast I beleive that there

During the podcast I beleive that there was a mention that there would be a detailed explanation of how the Hotwash process works. There were mentions of red squares and pink circles. I haven't been able to find the additional information on the website.

David- The information we cited in


The information we cited in the cast are right above the comments on this page. I missed it too... kept looking for it to be separate somehow.

I just relistened to the entire cast for you, and alas, the red squares comment was simply an analogy. We suggested that if you tell your team to look for something specific (red squares), they will see those things more easily, but at the same time that one ought not to tell them to ignore some stuff (blue circles).

Sorry, but there's no magic there.

Glad you're a listener!


Hi guys, tuesday I had my first hot

Hi guys,

tuesday I had my first hot wash meeting, at the end of Phase I of a project (direct data research about 150 firms), before the beginning of Phase II (writing some essays about it for a magazine).
I had announced it to my two colleagues more or less a week before.
It really worked well: I prepared myself with two or three things that I tought went well o that we should take a look at. The email was very useful, because my two colleagues talked about many points which I didn't think about (also because it was about their activity and some contact with the customer, which I didn't follow directly). They really prepared themselves, and we often have meetings where the youngest people don't say anything at all.

I wrote at least ten or twelve elements (WWW or TALA) and made many logical links between the two.

Definitely something useful: now I have a big sheet of paper and must decide the priorities for the next project like this.

Just wondering: should I send an e-mail now with the results of this meeting or should I wait for the second hot wash (when we finish the whole project) to join togheter the results of both the sessions?
I suspect it's better if I do it now.

Go on like this, Mark and Mike!


P.S.: I was almost forgetting: write the book, please!

Oliveiro- DEFINITELY send out the


DEFINITELY send out the notes, right away, in this situation. GREAT feedback that their comments were heard... will increase their participation next time.

Glad it went well!


[...] Aber vorgestern kam dann

[...] Aber vorgestern kam dann überraschenderweise noch eine Mail von Mike, der mich auf einen Podcast zum Thema “Hot Wash” hinwies, einem Projekt-Evaluierungsmeeting, das die beiden empfehlen. Der Podcast stehe nur registrierten Nutzer offen, aber die Registrierung sei kostenlos. [...]

Hi, Wanted to ask if we can have


Wanted to ask if we can have access to an Action Plan template which captures the actions to be done emerging from a "hotwash" session. I will be implementing this concept in the next couple of weeks. Thought of asking in advance.



Chetan- Thanks for the kind


Thanks for the kind words.

We do have a Hot Wash action step cast, but it doesn't include a template, so much as it leverages "who's going to do what by when?"


Mark definitely sounds like a High

Mark definitely sounds like a High “I” on this one. Thank you for the great information and resource.

Maybe I'm just too new to podcasts, but

Maybe I'm just too new to podcasts, but after *several* loong minutes of choppy chat (during which i did other things), it finally got down to the meat of the topic, still a little too chatty, sales-like. I don't have time or patience to listen to radio at work, need to get more directly on topic sooner in the cast! Perhaps you can break it into two podcasts - "Why do Hot Washes?" and "Having a Successful Hot Wash"

Perhaps we could. Thanks for the

Perhaps we could. Thanks for the comments.


I'm a project manager and just

I'm a project manager and just conducted my first Hot Wash at the end of a year long project. The WWW/TALA concept worked great. I got a lot of suggestions for both categories. I will definitely be doing more of these on future projects.


Jeremy- Well done you! The credit


Well done you! The credit always goes to the one in the ring.



Hot WHAT?!

I'm doing my first Hot Wash today (I'm listening to all the podcasts from the beginning.)  The name did not engender the kind of excitement I had hoped.  In fact it has become kind of a joke.  At least it has people talking.  I'll be interested to see if it catches on after today.

Thanks for the education!


did a google search on www/tala....

...and I was amused to find that result #3 was this link:

...taken from Marine Corps leadership theory.  :-)  If everyone who went through the miliary "machine" turned out more like Mike and Mark and less like hawks, this world would be an extremely effective place, indeed.



....making my way through product management and self-management of my "ready, aim . . . aim . . . *SHINY!!!* . . . aim . . ." tendencies

Remote Employees and the Hot Wash

Hi guys,

I have been doing the Hot Wash approach for a while now, both myself and the teams I've facilitated found them (in the feedback I've gotten) very effective and fun. Keep up the great work.

One item I have struggled with is how to manage remote employees in these meetings. We sometimes are not able to fly everyone to the same place for hot washes, so what do you advise is the most effective way to manage their engagement? Is it any different or is it just a conference call?

Specific examples....

  • Phone vs Teleconference vs Other? (does seeing the team via technology help / distract with engagement?) - the limitation / risk for teleconferencing here is the board is hard to see and not 100% of folks are in the same window for Teleconferencing...
  • Paper, Board, Document on a Web Share, Stickinotes, other? - do you recommend the tools change in facilitating with a remote employee? (ex: is it more important to see than to be at the board or more important to listen and have folks in the room see you at the board?)

Thanks a lot. I don't think I've missed a podcast and I recommend you to everyone I think wants to be more effective.



Hotwash with distant teams - one or several sessions?


I managed a development project, with 3 teams (functional analysis, development and test) located in 3 different places. The teams are relatively small (2-6 people each).

We delivered the first release recently, and I was thrilled to hear about a nice and easy way to improve our process for the next release.


I plan to make a teleconference (it's just not possible to travel just for that), but I'm not too sure if I should have one session for the complete team (12 people), or hold 3 separate sessions? I would tend to separate the sessions.

Do you have recommendations?


As for technology, I'll probably just share my screen, and write in word (or on our wiki) the comments as I hear them.


Thanks for this great podcast.

Hotwash with distant teams - one or several sessions?

Sorry, clicked two times on "post".