Assessment of how a plan, judgment, or decision could go spectacularly wrong.
Pre-Mortem Analysis is a systematic assessment of how a plan, judgment, or decision could go spectacularly wrong. This hindsight approach helps identify potential problems early on.
To perform a Pre-Mortem Analysis:
Step 1: Begin with the premise that your plan has failed spectacularly.
Step 2: Write down every reason you can think of for the failure. Use the Negative Brainstorming tool to find new reasons.
Step 3: Ask each member of the Brainstorming group to read one of their reasons, even if it’s politically impolite.
Step 4: Continue until all reasons have been recorded.
Step 5: Review the reasons and look for ways to strengthen your plan.
Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions, Gary Klein, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1998.
Handbook of Analytic Tools and Techniques, Randolph H. Pherson, Reston, VA: Pherson Associates, 2008.
Structured Analytic Techniques for Intelligence Analysis, Richards Heuer, Jr. and Randolph H. Pherson, Washington DC: CQ Press, 2011.