I wondering who do you invite to a Hot Wash for a project. Is it just 1 or 2 levels down, the whole team, or some combination?


Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge


It's not cut and dried.

As a general rule, invite everyone, and publish the results to everyone on the project, even if they don't come.

If you can get everyone, and it's less than 20 folks, and you have a GOOD FACILITATOR, have one meeting. If you have more than 20, have 2 meetings to hear from everyone.

If it's huge, and you don't want a whole series, try to have the top 10 or so in the room. 10 is a good number to get energy but not pandemonium. You can get good results with 5 or so, but sometimes the intimacy actually reduces openness.

These are just guidelines, though - I've violated all of these at one time or another.

It's a privilege to serve you,


regas14's picture
Licensee Badge

I have scheduled a "Hot Wash" for next Monday - the official live launch date of a project I've been leading since April. Unfortunately I didn't know about the technique in advance of the project to "say it" up front.

There will be a group of 7 people who participated in the project and my thought is that the real value for the organizations and the participants is going to stem from observations relating to departmental/functional interactions. This project required a cross-functional team to a greater degree than our company is used to and I'm excited to see the WWWTALA lists regarding how we work together.

The biggest challenge will be enforcing the brainstorming guidelines and avoiding solution-finding. I'm incredibly excited to give this a shot. I'll let you know what happens.

regas14's picture
Licensee Badge

I ran my first ever "Hot Wash" session today. Admittedly I didn't know this technique when the project began a few months back so people were not on the "WWWTALA Watch" throughout. Despite this fact and the fact that nothing quite like this has ever been done at our company, we had some really interesting results. As the group leader I had spent a lot of time prepping for this meeting just in case no one had much to say, but the group hit on most of my WWWTALA items and came up with a couple that I had completely missed.

There was one person in the room a level above the project team (which are all essentially peers). He was close enough to the project to contribute and know what people were talking about. He was extremely happy with the session and wants to see it more widely adopted around the company.

Now, in an effort to dig down to that next level and select the 3-4 key learing points, I've asked the team to pick out 1-2 and outline why they are key and what can be done to reinforce a WWW or reconsider a TALA. Although I was a little disappointed with the energy in the room I should have recognized that I am not the right facilitator for this type of meeting and I also should have some understanding for the fact that this is simply a pretty quiet group.

Ultimately though this process was incredibly helpful for examining the project, building cohesion for the next project, and demonstrating our desire to learn, grow and improve.

Unfortunately because of our work structure I won't have the opportunity to use this tool very often.

Thanks M&M!

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

Sorry this took me so long... WELL DONE!!!

I think it went GREAT if you got good data and it was your first time. Maybe you won't use it a lot... but others will.

And, nice work admitting you're not NOW the perfect person to facilitate. Of course, it would be easy for you to be so, with practice.

Best note of my week - success and identifying personal growth as well. The team wins on BOTH fronts.



JohnGMacAskill's picture
Training Badge

Had a one day 'strategy day' update and management meeting combined and I suggested to the MD we do a Hot Wash. Apart from asking me to re-name it (we're conservative Scots!) he agreed.

Excellent; very simple and effective. Built it into the agenda, told everyone at the start what to expect and then ran it for a tight 10 minutes at the end.

It captured enough to definetly improve the next one we do, which in terms of company management time is significant.

Great job guys, great tool again! :D


Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge


I love it when our folks use our recommendations and they work... PARTICULARLY when they say [b]simple and effective[/b]!

After 3-4, you can give yourself some room to breathe/modify it as your unique situation seems to call for.


mjpeterson's picture

I have introduced the concept to my company, but the push back I am getting is about how to then take the "lessons learned" and then distribute it. We have a more formal lesssons learned process but it is strictly related to projects.

Obviously the Hot Wash can be used very effectively for project lessons learned, but I see its use in many other facets of my work environment. What are other people doing? Has anyone else run into this same problem?