Ministry initiatives in the church often fail. A simple planning tool called the pre-mortem, however, can minimize ministry failure. In a recent post I suggested 7 good reasons to conduct the pre-mortem, a tool credited to Dr. Gary Klein. A pre-mortem is an exercise that assumes your plan spectacularly fails and considers beforehand what might go wrong. It helps teams plan ahead to avoid potential pitfalls. In this post I explain how to do a pre-mortem.
To get started, you’ll want to schedule a pre-mortem session with your team and include these steps when you convene them.
- Brief your team about the proposed plan.
- Describe the imaginary failure in colorful terms. Imagine it as a spectacular fiasco.
- Ask your team to write down everything they believe could have possibly gone wrong.
After these steps, consider these questions.
- What did you miss that contributed to the failure?
- What went wrong as you implemented your imaginary plan?
- Who messed up and why?
- Had you known these pitfalls, what would you have done differently?
- After completing your pre-mortem session, what do you need to change about your proposed plan to avoid potential failure?
- Who needs to know these changes?
Here’s a helpful guide that describes in more detail how to do a pre-mortem.
Have you ever conducted a pre-mortem? If so, what additional questions would you include?
“I just learned how to conduct a ministry plan pre-mortem to help avoid failure.” (tweet this quote by clicking here)