Prevention is better than cure, so why wait until its all gone Pete Tong (wrong) before taking action? A project post mortem is carried out after the event when the damage has been done, we may sometimes take that learning into the next piece of work/project or, as in many cases, the paperwork gets put away and never looked at again….
So what’s the alternative? A Pre Mortem. This process happens at the very start of the project and should include as many key stakeholders as possible.
When they’re all in the room the project manager briefs the team on the CRM plan and asks them to imagine its failed like no other project they’ve ever been involved with.
Over the next 5 minutes each team member writes:
- All the reasons they feel it could have failed
- What preventative action could have been taken
This information is gold dust. The fact that its gained at the start of the project means that team members are more relaxed with sharing concerns than in the middle of a disaster or at the end of a project that’s gone horribly wrong. It also helps the project manager strengthen the project in a number of ways including:
- Identifying risks early
- Ensuring the correct project team members are in place
- Ensuring the correct project elements are developed/tested
- Setting realistic timescales
- Adding the correct tasks to the project plan
This video, The Pre-mortem Technique – The Trick To Avoiding Project Failure provides more detail about this powerful tool that should be used at the start of every project and even when you’re looking to start something big in your personal life.
Harvard Business Review have also done a great article on the subject
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