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Pre-mortem: How to Fight Failure Early

A negative mindset can in fact pay off. Here is how you can identify and map risks early in the process.
Pre-mortem: How to Fight Failure Early

If you, like me, tend to see things in a somewhat negative light, your colleagues might tell you to "lighten up" or "focus on the bright side" or on (my personal favourite) "the opportunities".

A lot of the time, they are perfectly right. But when you need to identify risk before trying to create change, launch a project or something else, viewing the glass as half empty is a strength.

You've probably been involved in sessions, where you try to identify risks, prioritize them and then talk about how you mitigate them. That's important work, but sometimes it becomes a little too theoretical or speculative to my taste.

I like to talk about things in a concrete, down-to-Earth kind of way, and a semi-philosophical discussion about how something can hampen your project can – if not probably managed – turn into the direct opposite.

Instead, I've found, it's better to change your mindset; from a "what can go wrong?" to "what went wrong?".

Yup, that's right. Instead of thinking of risks, you kick things off by assuming that you already failed. And it works.

Today, let's talk about pre-mortems.

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