We're developing a software feature that allows the user to examine the result of a series of rules after those rules are executed. We've tentatively called this feature running an "autopsy". Unfortunately, the word autopsy has negative connotations in its primary definition. We realize a secondary definition ("A critical assessment or examination after the fact.") expresses exactly what the feature does but the negative connotations are inescapable.

We're looking for an alternative to autopsy for naming this feature. Synonyms such as checkup, inspection, review, or examination don't seem to capture the spirit.

  • Post execution analysis?
    – Jim
    Aug 6, 2015 at 0:01
  • You use "executed" without batting an eye... why not "autopsy"... It's certainly an industry word along with "postmortem".
    – Catija
    Aug 6, 2015 at 0:20
  • 1
    This will most likely not have a single word solution. Is that OK?
    – Mitch
    Aug 6, 2015 at 0:36
  • Well, continuing in the morbid vein, how about "inquest"? Or genuflect a few times and call it an "inquisition". (Actually, "audit" would seem to fit your situation quite well, and there's also "assay".)
    – Hot Licks
    Aug 6, 2015 at 1:13
  • Or, if you want to avoid any possible conflict with another use of the same term, use "perlustrate".
    – Hot Licks
    Aug 6, 2015 at 1:16

5 Answers 5


An alternative could be retrospection:

The action of looking back on or reviewing past events or situations, especially those in one’s own life.


  • 1
    Retrospection is quite good. It avoids the "bodily" connotations of some of the alternatives, such as dissection and post-mortem. Thank you!
    – Swan
    Aug 7, 2015 at 0:33

A post-mortem is the term I'm familiar with:

An analysis or discussion of an event held soon after it has occurred, especially in order to determine why it was a failure

I've participated in more than a few software post-mortems myself.


Both post-mortem and retrospection work as stated by other answers, but first, some context from an English speaker in the industry from Silicon Valley.

Where I work, we use post-mortem for the end of a release, and we use retrospection for the end of a Sprint.

So really, this comes down to context. If you're talking about the end of a release, I advise post-mortem. If it's just a Sprint, go with retrospection. Technically, retrospection works for both, but it can get confusing depending on your work environment and workflow.


Postgame comes to mind, as does Post-op and Post-hoc [Latin: "After This], but the best option I can think of is:

After-Action Report, or AAR for short.

An after action report (or AAR) is any form of retrospective analysis on a given sequence of goal-oriented actions previously undertaken, generally by the author themselves.

The two principal forms of AARs are the literary AAR, intended for recreational use, and the analytical AAR, exercised as part of a process of performance evaluation and improvement, while in most cases AARs are a combination of both.


It sounds like a dissection

Very detailed analysis of a text or idea: this dissection of modern relationships

Oxford Dictionaries Online

While this is closely related to the rejected autopsy, it seems just a bit less morbid.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.