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Pre-mortems: How a Stripe Product Manager predicts & prevents problems before launch
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Pre-mortem meeting

Use this template to run your next pre-mortem meeting with your team.
1️⃣ Context & Prompt (10 min)
Think of at least 2 Tigers and any Paper Tigers/Elephants.
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2️⃣ Quiet time #1 (10 min)
Add your Tigers, Paper Tigers, and Elephants below. You will only be able to see your ideas at this stage.

Add issue
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Issue
Type
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I’ve added my issues:
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3️⃣ Quiet time #2 (10 min)
Review others’ issues and +1 the ones you think are most important. You get five +1s to allocate across issues.
Show everyone’s issues
Sort everyone’s issues
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Issue
Type
+1
1
Worried we haven’t tested all the edge cases on mobile app
Paper Tiger 📃
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AC
2
Might be some PR backlash on new face recognition software.
Elephant 🐘
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AD
BD
LT
3
Photo tagging might involve more manual work for quality team.
Tiger 🐯
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MM
4
Operations team will have to completely change their processes with tagging launch.
Tiger 🐯
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LT
FM
AD
+2
5
Consumers might not be used to new form factor of computer.
Elephant 🐘
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MM
BD
6
Floppy disks are too easy to bend and people might complain about them.
Paper Tiger 📃
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AD
FM
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Done reviewing:
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4️⃣ Around-the-room sharing (20 min)
Everyone shares reflections and what resonated the most.
Search
Type
Author
Issue
Notes/Reflections
Paper Tiger 📃
AC
Alan Chowansky
Worried we haven’t tested all the edge cases on mobile app
AC
Alan Chowansky
Floppy disks are too easy to bend and people might complain about them.
Elephant 🐘
AD
Adam Davis
Might be some PR backlash on new face recognition software.
MM
Maria Marquis
Consumers might not be used to new form factor of computer.
Tiger 🐯
MM
Maria Marquis
Photo tagging might involve more manual work for quality team.
AD
Adam Davis
Operations team will have to completely change their processes with tagging launch.


5️⃣ Tentative top themes & next steps (10 min)
For meeting leaders: Preview the next step of the pre-mortem process (i.e. table below). Set the expectation that you will send out a table with the top themes that emerged, the associated Tigers & Elephants, Proposed Mitigating Actions, and proposed Directly Responsible Individual (DRI) for each theme.
Add theme
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Theme
Related Tiger/Elephant Issues
Theme DRI
Proposed Mitigating Actions
1
Unexpected privacy issues
2
Requires operations overhaul
3
No product/market fit
There are no rows in this table


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