Thursday, December 12, 2019

Through the doors


A narrative

Imagine two doors to the same room:
One labeled risk manager; the other labeled decision maker.

Though the risk manager's door, entry is for the inductive thinkers: those armed with facts looking for a supporting generality or an integrating narrative

Through the decision maker's door, entry is for the deductive thinkers: those visionaries with a capacity to envision specifics facts or conclusions that flow from the vision

And, consider this:
  • Pessimists with facts enter through the risk manager's door
  • Optimists with business-as-we-want-it-to-be enter through the decision maker's door
Then what happens?

Each needs to find the other. In the best of situations, they meet in the middle of the room where there is buffer space and flexibility.

How do the inductive and deductive thinkers interact?

Risk managers do not set policy for the project office; risk managers only estimate the left and right hand boundaries.

The space between the boundaries is where the decision makers get to do their envisioning, moving about, pushed back only by the risk boundaries.

Balance sheet metaphor

Sound familiar? I hope so. You'll find a similar explanation known as the "project balance sheet" in Chapter 6 of "Maximizing Project Value: A project manager's guide". (Oh -- the book cover is shown below!)

In that balance sheet metaphor, the right side is for the fact-based inductive manager; the left side is for the visionary. And, since those two never agree fully, there is a gap.

And the gap is where the risk is. Risk is the balancing element between the vision and the facts. And who is the risk manager: the project team -- not the visionary. (That's why we pay the PMO the big bucks: to manage the risk!)



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