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5 Examples of a Premortem

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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.


An organic fruit juice will fail on the market because it's too expensive for something in a plastic bottle.


A construction project will be late and over budget because traffic congestion in the area will delay concrete deliveries.


An 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.


A magazine advertisement will fail because it just isn't eye catching enough.


A technology product will be rendered useless just before launch when a platform partner suddenly drops support for an API.
Overview: Premortem
Imagining that a proposed strategy, project or product has failed and listing the reasons.
Identifying risks
Making Decisions
Related Concepts

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