Projects fail all the time, and most experts will tell you that to prevent future failures you need to look at what went wrong. Instead of giving your next big project an autopsy, do a premortem: look at what could go wrong before it does. After your team is briefed on the project plan, gather them together. Explain that (hypothetically) the project has “failed” and ask them to write down all the reasons why it could have. Then alter your original plan based on what you learn. This exercise helps the team identify how you might get off track, and prepares members to pick up early signs of trouble during execution.
Adapted from “Guide to Project Management.”