Risk and uncertainty

This category contains 35 posts

A few quick words on Brexit

As an In-voter, today’s Brexit result is not a good one. Actually, I think it’s terrible. But while I’ve been depressed and angry in the past at general election results that haven’t gone the way I wanted, I find that I’m much less angry and depressed this time. Oddly, this seems to be a consequence … Continue reading

Examples of false black and white world views

I wrote previously that we are presented with black and white options far more than we should be. Back then I gave one example to emphasise the point that it’s much more helpful to see shades of grey, which is much closer to reality and affords more opportunities to act appropriately. Since then I’ve collected … Continue reading

Escaping a black and white world view

Events in the news, future possibilities, and situations close to home are often presented in black and white terms. But more often than not reality is much more variable. And if we mistakenly accept a black and white view of the world then it becomes much more difficult to respond effectively—because we just don’t see … Continue reading

Antifragile book review: Useful but painful

I recently finished reading Antifragile, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, so here my thoughts on it, as its message is strongly related to a lot of what I write about on this blog. In short, it’s a book with useful ideas and a very practical perspective on the world (organisations, economics, daily life), but it suffers—severely—from … Continue reading

The distorted lens of risk registers

Where do you list your project risks? The more traditional project management approach tells us to use a risk register, and that’s certainly what happens in a lot of projects. But from my point of view it’s a trick question, and that’s not just because “risks” are not singular. We might write some so-called risks … Continue reading

More effective risk workshops

A common part of the traditional risk management process is to run a risk workshop. This typically involves getting a group of stakeholders together at the start of a project, and asking what might go wrong. Not only is it a good thing to seek out problems before they happen, it is constructive if we … Continue reading

Handling so-called “risks” with our existing processes

Previously I wrote that a great way to manage risk is to design it out of the system. But what if our system—our project—is already set up and running? The traditional project management approach to risk management is to list so-called risks and handle them separately, with risk workshops, risk owners, and so on. But … Continue reading

Risk appetites (plural)

What kind of risk appetite does your organisation have? Does it have different risk appetites for different circumstances? And is that even useful? Matthew Leitch contends that the term “risk appetite” is unhelpful. He conducted a survey which revealed that the kind of people who might typically encounter this phrase find it less helpful than … Continue reading

A colourful way to see risk variability

I’ve said before that risk is variable. But traditional project management pretends that “risks” are individual things—what I sometimes call “point risks”. So if you’re working in that environment, here’s a colourful way to highlight the difference. Here’s a typical risk scoring grid, which I’ve adapted from the website of some auditors… but it really … Continue reading

Acquisitions: When the player becomes the pawn

When a company with a good product gets acquired it can upset the decision-making of potential customers. This issue arose a little while ago when Ansible was bought by Red Hat, and concern was expressed by a friend as we discussed introducing it in his large organisation. Ansible is a product that automates the process … Continue reading