I don't think this is new insight, but I'll repeat it here for the record. In his recent book "Takedown" about his years in executive leadership of U.S. intelligence analysis, Philip Mudd* writes about Colin Powell's* approach -- in three steps -- to being an 'analysis consumer', something every project manager is almost every day:
If every risk management experience followed the Powell protocol, we'd all be the better for it. (Left unsaid: the Rumsfield version of the Powell protocol about the 'unknown unknowns' and the Ignorance Management Framework!)
- Tell me what you know
- Tell me what you don't know
- Tell me what you think
Mudd goes on to give his insights re analysis, certainly something every Business Analyst or project office analyst should heed:
- Maintain objective separation between those who analyze (analyst) and those who use analysis product for decision-making (analysis consumer)
- Be abundantly clear in the analysis product vis a vis the Powell protocol (as above)
- Always understand that an intention is not always supported by a capability, and that possession of a capability is not sufficient to impute intention.
- Among capabilities of your competition, what are the competition's intentions (beyond trying to win, of course)?
- Among the intentions of your prospective customer, what are the customer's capabilities to effectively use/employ/absorb your deliverables?
Not without coincidence, this leads directly to Chapter 12 of my most recent book "Maximizing Project Value" (see links below) re 'game theory': the systematic means to assess the intersection of intention and capability.
*Philip Mudd: Former counter-terrorism executive at CIA and FBI
Collin Powell: Former U.S. Secretary of State, and Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
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