I am a believer in the power of project management.
As a professional project manager for nearly twenty years, I have witnessed project success drive business results. I have also proven that project management can change lives and help achieve personal transformation. Now I am sharing some practical tips and techniques that you can use to help achieve your own personal goals, live your best life and become a PM Believer.
How Will It Die?
Do you know what an autopsy is?
An autopsy is a medical exam performed on somebody to determine the cause of their death. Autopsies are also known by another term, a post-mortem exam or just a “post-mortem.” This is a Latin term that literally means “after death.”
Post-mortems aren’t just something that happens in the medical world. Post-mortems are used to evaluate causes of failure for other events, actions or projects. In project management, the post-mortem occurs after a project fails and identifies the root cause and how it could have been prevented.
Evaluating the cause of death after a project dies seems a little late. Yes, you can learn lessons to apply to future projects, but you can’t prevent the death of the current project. Shouldn’t there be a way to determine the cause of death for a project before it dies?
This is a job for the pre-mortem.
A pre-mortem is a risk planning exercise that some project managers conduct during project planning. In a pre-mortem, the project manager asks their team to imagine that the project failed. Then they ask what the likely cause of death was for the project.
By exploring potential causes of the future death of a project, a project manager can identify the most impactful risks and begin to proactively mitigate them. It creative tool that project managers can use to manage their Risky Business.
You can use this same pre-mortem technique to figure out the right plan for you to achieve your goals (see The Right Plan, Your Plan). An essential part of creating a project plan is to anticipate what might go wrong to prevent you from achieving your goal. This is also a crucial part of my Operation Melt goals coaching approach.
By identifying risks at the beginning of your project, you can build a plan to respond if the risk becomes an issue. Thinking ahead and anticipating these issues will save you from figuring out solutions in the heat of the moment. This strategy helps maximize the efficiency of your brain; making decisions during high-stress moments is a recipe for failure (see No Decision Zone).
The benefit of using the pre-mortem approach to identifying risks is that prioritization is built right into the process. If you make a list of everything that might go wrong in life, you will have a list that is a mile long. By asking what might go wrong that would be fatal to your goal, you can focus on only the risks with the highest potential consequences. This helps you ignore all of the risks that are just annoying but not really fatal.
Have you identified the future cause of death for your goal? How will it die?
Are you ready to be a PM Believer?
Sometimes goals aren’t successful, some projects die. What if you could conduct an autopsy and discover the cause of death for your project well before it happens? You can! Are you ready to ask How Will It Die?
How have you applied project management for your personal success? Tell me about it at OperationMelt.com and make sure to join my email list to have updates delivered to your inbox weekly.
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Want to know more about how I changed my life with project management? Pick up your copy of my book Operation Melt: How I Used Life-Changing Project Management to Lose Over 100 Pounds In Under a Year.
About Operation Melt
Operation Melt provides engaging, practical content and hands-on coaching to inspire, motivate and equip you to achieve your big goals.
Will you join me in building a world where goals never die of loneliness?