Monday, March 16, 2020

The unfolding course of events


"It is not given to human beings -- happily for them, for otherwise life would be intolerable -- to foresee or predict to any large extent the unfolding course of events"

Winston Churchill
Of course, project management can modify such a bit to tolerate some of the intolerable:
  • Simulations can add to the extent of foresight of unfolding events
  • Systems tests can reveal unforeseen hazards in the road ahead
  • Verification and validation can trap missing requirements satisfaction that will make itself known in the fullness of time.
 And, the PMO can make judgments regarding the cost of over reacting vs the cost of under reacting to unfolding events.
  • Protecting what you have vs foregoing a possible opportunity
  • In effect, judging opportunity cost for a course of events that is not entirely foreseeable.
Of course Donald Rumsfeld could have been thinking of Churchill; would he have been tolerable if he could have seen 18 years ahead?
As we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don’t know we don’t know.


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