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Conduct an Inter-Mortem Today!

By Christie Struckman | February 01, 2021 | 0 Comments

Uh, what is an inter-mortem? Hold on … I’ll get to that.

As organizations work toward their own instantiation of hybrid working that makes sense for them, there may be a return to behaviors that are not consistent with the digital plans. Psychologists highlight that, during the pandemic, people are feeling nostalgia for the past (evidence 1,2)  in that “the past has never looked so good.” As team members head back into the office, they will feel a desire to return to the “good old days.” But many of those old ways of working are not what organizations want, moving forward. We need to prevent digital backsliding.

You are familiar with postmortems — those after-event sessions where leaders understand what happened and how the organization responded as part of its continuous improvement, moving forward. You might be familiar with premortems — those before-event sessions where leaders try to anticipate risks and problems, and then strategize solutions. This is an “in the middle of” exercise — an “intermortem.” In this session, leaders pause and ask themselves how things are working now so that the organization can course-correct.

Structure the Inter-Mortem

The way that work is getting done should be categorized by the source and the type of shift of the activity or behavior.

Source of the activity or behavior:

  • Strategy — What is being done that is either consistent or inconsistent with the strategy of the enterprise primarily and the IT strategy if you have one.
  • Cost-efficiency — What is being done that makes sense, given cost pressures.
  • Productivity — What is being done that improves or inhibits employees’ productivity.
    You might have other categories that make sense for your organization; you can either add categories or replace with the ones above

Type of shift for each of the activities or behaviors:

  • Retain — Keep the changes that happened because of the crisis but that the organization desires to retain.
  • Reinvent — Do this differently, because while the changes are good, they aren’t great and need some continued effort.
  • Return — Revert to previous, because what was being done previously is best.

Get together with your team and do an inter-mortem exercise. See below for an example of a completed template. Once you have had the conversation with your team, do the same with your partners across the enterprise. Get that picture of what is working and what is not. And then plan to make sure you don’t backslide!

Example of a Completed Inter-Mortem Template

If you want more information about the inter-mortem process, see Prevent Backsliding to Drive Digital Business Acceleration.


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