The premortem is an easy-to-use method for risk identification that has become increasingly popular within the investment community, as well as in other domains. The premortem often surfaces important, and sometimes path-critical, issues that go unnoticed. Also, the premortem increases candor and trust within teams putting it into practice. Two Economic Nobel prize winners (Kahneman and Thaler) have advocated for its use. However, too often the premortem has been applied improperly, reducing its benefits. Gary Klein, Paul Sonkin and Paul Johnson have written a working paper that present a step-by-step guide to conducting a premortem as well as the academic principals and evidence underlying the theory.

Click to download a copy of this paper.

Gary Klein has also written several influential books. For more information please click this link to view our recommended reading list of Gary’s books and others. Paul Sonkin and Paul Johnson are authors of Pitch the Perfect Investment (2017). For more information visit



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