Monday, March 24, 2008

"The Patient Has Died" - A Pre-mortem

I read a great article in the September, 2007 issue of HBR. In the article, Gary Klein writes on the value of determining the death of a project, before it starts.

Prior to my research on "The CRM Dilemma", a pre-mortem on my CRM project, would not have included the certainty of death that my research revealed. I now know that activity controls are like a surgeon carrying the plague.
(The analogy carries on from here and although it might be "Over the top," I had a lot of fun writing it and I believe the points are valid - AH)

If the infection is allowed anywhere near the patient, the patient will die a painful death. For years, few have suspected this "Deadly surgeon" but has instead blamed other people and circumstances. Over and over the operation is performed using different techniques and people, but someone keeps inviting the "deadly surgeon" into the room. The patient rarely recovers after the operation and most often dies.

There are groups of upcoming patients that suspect the "deadly surgeon," but they are afraid to say anything because he is so well liked and accepted by the medical team. The "deadly surgeon" has become such a part of the medical team that they can't imagine the operation would work without him. Yet up to 80% or more of these operations fail and the patient dies because no one will take the "deadly surgeon" out of the room.

So what do you do once the finger has been pointed squarely at the "deadly surgeon"?

Are you willing to take responsibility for asking him to sit out of a few operations?

There are people that you report to that really like the "deadly surgeon" and what he brings to each operation. They may not be willing to accept his culpability in all those past patient deaths.

You may end up with a severance package, writing a blog, and changing careers if they would rather keep their "angel of death" in the operating room.

But isn't the overall health of the patient more important? Now that you know CRM will die if activity controls are allowed in, are you willing to force "Him" to sit out a few operations?

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