The Pre-Mortem Technique

I met with a startup last week and asked, “What are you most worried about?”

It was one of those points in a business where everything is going right. They didn’t have a great answer despite the upcoming launch of a new feature that was dependent on two partnerships going right.

We talked about a great technique called the “Pre-Mortem” as a way to plan for what could go wrong.

Here’s how Wikipedia talks about it:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pre-mortem

Pre-mortem

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A **pre-mortem** — also known as a **premortem** — is a [managerial strategy](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Management "Management") in which a manager imagines that a project or organization has failed, and then works backward to determine what potentially could lead to the failure of the project or organization.[[1]](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pre-mortem#cite_note-1)[[2]](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pre-mortem#cite_note-2) The technique breaks possible [groupthinking](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groupthink "Groupthink") by facilitating a positive discussion on threats, increasing the likelihood the main threats are identified. Management can then analyze the magnitude and likelihood of each threat, and take preventative actions to protect the project or organization from suffering an untimely “death”.

Michael Girdley