5 min read

How to Prevent Project Failure: The #1 Method We've Used for 5 Years

How to Prevent Project Failure: The #1 Method We've Used for 5 Years

Introduction: The Premise of Success and Uncertainty

Imagine a CEO addressing her team on the eve of a major project redesign. She startlingly declares the project a failure, even before its commencement. The team, understandably perplexed, faces a stark reminder: success in business is never a given, and unforeseen challenges can arise at any moment. This scenario underscores the importance of being mentally prepared for unexpected hurdles, a wisdom that echoes through the ages from the teachings of ancient Stoic philosophers like Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, and Seneca.

The Stoic Influence: Premeditatio Malorum

The Stoics introduced the concept of "premeditatio malorum," or the premeditation of evils. This philosophical approach encourages anticipating potential challenges and setbacks as a means of mental preparation. At Karpi Studio - a Webflow Partner, we have embraced this ancient wisdom in a modern context, utilizing a technique developed by psychologist Gary Klein: the premortem.

The Premortem Technique: A Proactive Approach

Unlike traditional postmortem analyses that occur after a project's completion, a premortem is conducted at the project's outset. It involves envisioning a future where the project has failed and then working backward to determine what could lead to this failure. This approach is distinct from the "Risk" identification in Prince2 Agile methodology, which primarily focuses on project execution.

Implementing the Premortem: Practical Steps

1. Awareness of Risks: Recognize that, despite excellent delivery, the market reception might not always align with expectations.

2. Monitoring Risks: This involves several key actions:

  • Keeping an eye on the competition and ensuring sufficient differentiation.
  • Seeking quick feedback from the target audience.
  • Staying updated with current market trends.

3. Organizing Risks: To avoid becoming overwhelmed, we use simple tools like a sheet of paper or a FigJam board, dividing risks into four categories:

  • High Probability-High Impact
  • Low Probability-High Impact
  • High Probability-Low Impact
  • Low Probability-Low Impact
Risk categorization chart on a sheet of paper, showing four risk types:

4. Action on Risks:

  • Actively eliminate or mitigate High Probability-High Impact risks.
  • Minimize or prepare for Low Probability-High Impact risks.

Conclusion: The Key to Project Longevity

By embracing the premortem technique and constantly updating our risk assessment, we have successfully navigated the complex waters of project management for the past five years. The secret to our approach lies not in the avoidance of risks but in the proactive identification and management of these risks. This method allows us to not only anticipate potential pitfalls but also to adapt and overcome them, ensuring the longevity and success of our projects.

Subscribe to newsletter

Subscribe to receive the latest blog posts to your inbox every week.

By subscribing you agree to with our Privacy Policy.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Website pre-launch checklist

69 steps pre-launch checklist is the most complex checklist developed by years of experience in Karpi Studio.

You will find how to test and fix:
- loading speed issues,
- responsivity issues on all current devices,
- SEO issues,
- and many more.

€30 Now: €9.00
Check it now

Suggested articles