Friday, October 22, 2010

Wisdom of the quotes

What you are prepared for never happens
Pennsylvania Dutch proverb

Perhaps this idea is why risk managers preach 360 situational awareness. The implication is that we are unprepared for what does happen. So, is there nothing to do, or to be done, to get prepared?

I suggest that when that happens for which we are unprepared, even if it was foreseeable--indeed: foreseen--that it's useful to have protocols in place to handle the ad-hoc networks that form to handle the unexpected.

The worst situation is everyone milling about, no one in charge, and no protocols to put someone in charge.

At the very least, a protocol could exist to form a working group of senior leaders to assess the situation and reform governance so we can move on and address the situation.

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  1. I went to a conference in the spring where the speaker was a retired NASA manager. He runs PM training, one of the best I've every seen.
    He described an experience where astronauts and engineers were gathered to talk about safety.
    The engineers were working on system to rescue the astronauts from the launch vehicle in case of a problem. The shuttle can't do this.
    The astronauts had a better idea, don't let anything bad happen during launch.
    "You're trying to solve the problem after the fact," was their point of view.
    The two fatal incidents with Shuttle were 100% preventable had the paradigm is "don't let anything bad happen," would have been followed.

  2. Glen: yes, I agree. In Gene Kranz's telling of the design reviews on the pre-Apollo-1 capsule, the astronaughts objected to the all-Oxy atmosphere, but were overruled because Gemini and Mercury had used that mix without incident.

    Kranz also describes their general problem solving protocols that were on the shelf and available to address the black swan incidents.

    Adm Thad Allen also has spoken to pre-packaged protocols for incident managment.


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