Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Don't ask me about the worst case

Perhaps the most common question in risk management, if not in project management is this one:
"What's the worst case that can happen?"
Don't ask me that!
Why not?
Because I don't know, and I'd only be guessing if I answered.

So what questions can you answer about the future case?
  • I can tell you that a projection of the past does not forecast the future because I've made the following changes (in resources, training, tools, environment, prototypes, incentives, and .....) that nullify prior performance ......

  • I can tell you that I can foresee certain risks that can be mitigated if I can gather more knowledge about them (Such being a Bayesian approach of incrementally improving my hypothesis of the future outcomes). So, I have the following plan to gather that knowledge ......

  • I can tell you that there are random effects over which I have no control and for which there is no advancement in knowledge that will be effective. These effects could affect outcomes in the following ways ......

  • I can tell what you probably already know that the future always has a bias toward optimism (there's always time to fix it), and that there's always a tactical bias toward "availability" (one in hand is worth two in the bush ....) even if what's available is suboptimum.
Heard enough?
So go away and let me work on all that stuff!

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