If you wait until a post-mortem to review what went wrong, you are already dead! It’s not going to help. :(
Before your effort fails, get everyone to close their eyes and imagine it has failed. Have each person describe the scenario that they believe could have led the team to that point. Then all you have to do is capture all the described wrong turns as risks and decide which ones are important to mitigate.
Just like so many good ideas, this idea’s simplicity is its genius. Participants will be emotionally involved and therefore will cut straight to the heart of the matter during an exercise that can otherwise be pretty dry.
Guy may have drawn the idea from this HBR article: Performing a Project Pre-Mortem.
Anyone ever tried it? If not, give it a shot and let me know what you think.