| John Spacey, October 27, 2016 updated on January 13, 2023
A premortem is a risk identification exercise that involves imagining that a proposed strategy, program, project or product has failed and then listing the reasons for failure. It is a type of defensive pessimism that typically takes the form "This will fail because ..." The idea is to let ideas flow to capture as many potential failures as possible. These are later evaluated for probability and impact for decision making and risk management. The following are illustrative examples.
ProductAn organic fruit juice will fail on the market because it's too expensive for something in a plastic bottle.
ProjectA construction project will be late and over budget because traffic congestion in the area will delay concrete deliveries.
StartupsAn education startup will fail because its customer base tend to be slow to make purchasing decisions meaning that it will take months or years to close sales while cash burns.
MarketingA magazine advertisement will fail because it just isn't eye catching enough.
TechnologyA technology product will be rendered useless just before launch when a platform partner suddenly drops support for an API.
This is the complete list of articles we have written about risk management.
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A list of common business risks.
The four things that can be done about risk.
A list of techniques for reducing risk.
The potential that you'll achieve too much of a good thing.
Any risk that people have a strong aversion too.
The surprising similarities between risk and opportunity.
The difference between risk management and contingency planning.
The common types of uncertainty in decision making and strategy.
The common types of inventory risk.
An overview of common business risk management techniques.
An extensive list of business strategies.
A reasonably comprehensive guide to strategy.
The difference between a baseline and a benchmark.
A definition of strategy vs tactics with two examples.
A list of common competitive advantages.
A list of macro environment components.
The difference between competitive advantage and distinctive capability.
An overview of a common business strategy.
A definition of restructuring with examples.
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