I’m a fan of Daniel Pink. His book Drive is one of my all time favorites, I talked a bit about it before. He’s recently started up some short podcasts. I’ve watched a couple and this one is speaking to me most at the moment. Both in terms of my professional work as a Senior Technical Project Manager at Mad*Pow and as an idea for various side projects.
The premise of the premortem is this: Right before you begin a project, have a meeting with your team and pretend it’s near the end of that project. It’s is a complete disaster. An epic failure. Embarrassing. The Worst Project Ever. Ask everyone to write down some potential reasons why. Read them aloud, one by one.
This is more than Risk Analysis. It’s a chance for everyone to be heard, and for discovery that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. It moves up the things no one wants to say from the end, where it’s too late, and there’s a lot of friction.
Check out Daniel Kahneman’s talk below and let me know if you’ve had successes of failures with premortems.