What Does a Pre-Mortem Look Like?

For this article by Jo Ilfeld, Executive Leadership Coach on pre-mortems for team development, the image shows a team sitting around a table.

One of my favorite things ever is a pre-mortem. Unlike a post-mortem which looks backward after the end of a project, a pre-mortem actually happens before the project ends.

If you are worried that your team is being more reactive and not proactive enough, then I recommend trying this out.

With a pre-mortem, you’re asking your team to look forward in time to imagine what could have gone wrong after a project is comes to an end. In essence, you’re asking them to read the signs of what they’re noticing now; what might be missing from some of their interactions with colleagues; or what are some of the deliverables that they should be seeing right now. Once you gather this information, then project out how that could lead to disaster.

The process helps your team to be proactive in assessing risks and developing a strategy to mitigate against problems that are potentially around the corner.

And there is a key point to remember for a successful implementation of a pre-mortem, which I address in my video. If you don’t do this, you may not get the best results. Watch the video for more.

Read more on post-mortems here.

Jo Ilfeld, PhD

An executive leadership coach, Jo helps C-suite leaders, executives, and high-potential managers develop the flexibility, skill, and frame of mind to meet the challenges of the next five, ten, twenty years…. and beyond. She works with individuals, teams and organizations on four core areas of leadership development. Check out Jo's bio page for more information.

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