Proceedings of the International Conference on Business, Management and Finance
Combining Prospective Hindsight and Punctuated Equilibrium to Manage Project Risk and Improve Team Performance:The Challenge of Leadership Acceptance
The premortem meeting is a technique used by teams to identify and mitigate risk during project initiation. This paper elaborates on the findings from a recent study that seeks to extend the benefit of the premortem by combining its driving element of “prospective hindsight” with the team development concept of “punctuated equilibrium.” Knowing that their team will undergo a midpoint transition at a project’s temporal midpoint, a project manager may seek to administer what this study has uniquely called a “midmortem” meeting.Extending the use of prospective hindsight may not only create an additional opportunity to identify risks but also provide a mechanism for the project manager to help focus the team on the remaining critical tasks. Despite the positive impact some study participants experienced in the personal application of these “common sense” techniques, they felt there was little chance that organizational leadership would practice or champion them. Feedback from the study suggests that in practice most leaders are unwilling to engage in and thus support techniques that utilize reflective action. Additional research is recommended to help examine the efficacy of this proposed risk management and team performance enhancing framework as a possible complement to existing project management processes. Research efforts that involve the real-world application of these techniques may be necessary to gain the leadership support required for organizational implementation.
Keywords: midmortem; midpoint; postmortem; premortem; technique.