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Project Pre-Mortem Analysis [Prevent Project Failure]

How many times have your been more involved in pointing fingers at other teams and blaming them for project failures than actually solving the problem? Post mortem meetings can be difficult because people are more interested in blaming others than learning from their mistakes. But what if you had one before you started a new project. What is a project premortem? Premortem is a technique that tries to prevent total failure of a project and identifies and targets weaknesses in the plan. However, each one has different objectives. Premortem is not an either/or situation. However, it should be considered one of the first steps and allow the project team to look backwards from the point of failure. How can a premortem meeting help?
Premortem analysis offers unique benefits over other risk assessment methods. Ask your team to imagine themselves in a situation in which your project failed. This will help them shift their perspective. Premortem analysis can help you identify the reasons that could lead to project failure and give you the opportunity to shift your perspective.
When conducting a premortem analysis, you are basically looking back from the future and creating a strategic plan which includes the following:Identification of risks and problems
The team is more relaxed and doesn’t feel stressed about mentioning failures.
It stimulates creativity
Encourages dissenting opinions and prevents groupthink
Team members can express themselves
The Premortem analysis process
Prepare: Before you begin the meeting, ensure that your team members are comfortable with the plan and are briefed about it. The leader should inform the group about any project failures. This leader doesn’t necessarily have to be the project manager, but it could. It’s not necessary for the project manager, but it’s a good idea. Give your team an hour and ask them to work in small groups to brainstorm all possible solutions and to conclude why the project failed. Ask them to use their imaginations and come up with possible solutions. Any idea they have is worth collecting, no matter how meaningless or silly it may seem. Your team doesn’t have to be afraid or hold back. They can freely share their thoughts. The leader can ask each member of the group to give one reason for the project’s failure. To avoid repeating the same mistake, the next person must give a different reason. You must list all reasons in a spreadsheet or document. Then, you can start to focus on areas of concern. Some improvements will be immediate and obvious. Others will require further discussion and follow-up meetings. The goal is to identify and minimize risks. You might think about ranking the risks from most likely to occur to least likely. Be specific and avoid generalizing. Premortem should not be used to settle scores, but to be actionable.

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