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Teams can be overly optimistic regarding the likelihood of their plan’s success. This “planning fallacy” may result from ineffective plan-evaluation strategies. The PreMortem technique, imagining that a plan has failed and then trying to explain why, leverages a perspective-shifting strategy. However, very little research has been conducted to evaluate the validity of this technique. In this experiment, a Premortem Light was tested in a challenge course. Forty-eight members of Michigan Tech’s ROTC completed 6 novel field challenges in small teams. Each team used the Premortem Light for half of the challenges, and their typical plan-evaluation strategy (baseline) for the other half. Compared to the baseline, when teams used the Premortem Light, their plans were better, they fixated during problem solving less, and they made statistically fewer errors. Furthermore, there was no overall increase in course time. This technique can be effective in a variety of situations, including disaster response.


Psychology | Teacher Education and Professional Development

Premortem light: Improving planning using a lightweight, perspective shifting technique



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