Following a disappointing project, leaders often conduct a post-mortem. In this time-honoured tradition, the executive will sit with his or her team and explore what went wrong – what were the steps or factors that caused the undesirable outcome? The goal of this analysis is to spark individual and organizational learning in order to help avoid a similar fate in the future.
The obvious shortcoming of this approach is that it occurs after a project is completed and it’s too late to change the results. Although certainly valuable, post-mortems depend entirely on hindsight. However, with some projects, a second chance isn’t possible, and it’s important to get it right the first time.