Guy Kawasaki's book "Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions" was released last week for Kindle. It's worth reading.

One of the concepts Kawasaki talks about is the importance of doing "premortems" on a new idea or program.

In ministry, much like in other organizations, nobody ever bothers to conduct a "postmortem" on an idea that has died. There isn't enough time, resources, or interest to spend time thinking about a program that didn't make it. Leaders' plates are full enough.

Kawasaki recommends conducting a "premortem" review early in the launch phase. The premortem review is the discipline of asking before an idea, product, or program is launched, "Think toward the future and assume what we are talking about is launched, and fails. What would be the cause of death?"

According to Kawasaki, the premortem review allows you to solve problems before they happen, reduces the likelihood of a false-start, increases the likelihood of creativity on the front-end, brings light to early warning signs, and opens the pool of shared knowledge to more people because the environment is less political. People won't criticize a project mid-stream or after it dies because they don't want to throw stones at other people on the team or be perceived as someone who is not a team player.

We've done a premortem review on some of the ideas our staff has discussed in the past and found it to be fairly helpful. It's not a perfect method - foresight is never as clear as hindsight, even when it's disciplined foresight. Even still, a premortem review can be a really important discipline for a team to engage.