Risk, uncertainty, project management and new shoes

2013

If one thing is certain in life, it is uncertainty. So we could all do with some help managing risk and options in our lives and understanding how those risk and options keep messing up our projects.

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If one thing is certain in life, it is uncertainty. Yet conventional project planning just doesn't take this reality into account. So we could all do with some help managing risk and options in our lives and understanding how those risk and options keep messing up our projects.

The statistics on project management failure are dismal. Either a project fails or it fails to deliver the value promised. In some instances companies fail as a consequence. But what's really happening here? In reality, projects fail largely because they ignore uncertainty and stick to a rigid plan that has been rendered redundant by change. And the bigger the project, the harder it is to refocus and the further it has to fall.

Chris Matts and Olav Maassen have a better idea. What if uncertainty is acknowledged as part of reality? Instead of committing to an option or allocating the best resources early on, surely it's better to build uncertainty into the process.

Chris and Olav are two of three authors of a graphic novel, Commitment - A Novel About Managing Project Risk which outlines a different approach, one they call "Real Options". Oh, and you can use their approach to buy shoes, take a train, or even plan a wedding.

In this interview you'll learn:

  • How focusing on the wrong goals can result in commercial failure;
  • Why keeping your options open creates flexibility
  • Why traditional risk assessment methods fail to consider human shortcomings leaving the company vulnerable.
  • How to think differently about allocating your best people so you maximize flexibility.
  • Why creating value comes ahead of cost parameters
  • What all this has to do with new shoes
Chris Matts discovered Real Options when he tripped over a mathematical equation whilst searching in the dark for a light switch to illuminate the handling of options in Agile Software Development. For almost a decade, he has been torturing Olav Maassen with increasingly arcane financial products to "explain" how IT projects should be risk managed.

For his day job, Chris builds trading and risk management systems for investment banks so that they don't blow up the economy (again). Chris has been reading comics since the 70's. For the last ten years, while everyone is sleeping, Olav Maassen has helped the world by making sense of what Chris Matts is saying. By providing structure to Chris's thinking, together they have come up with interesting material on the subject of risk and uncertainty, part of which they have put in their book. In his day job, Olav helps companies become more effective by better aligning their IT with the organization and vice versa.

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Evolutionary Provocateur

Dawna Jones
Dawna Jones

The Evolutionary Provocateur bi-monthly show is for executives, managers, and supervisors (OR for leaders at all levels) who have noticed that it is not what you know but who you are that has the biggest impact.

Dawna Jones, the show's host, believes that by raising awareness and understanding we can make a quantum leap to a new level of innovation in business - but it has to be done collectively.

What better way to do it than by provoking the evolution of how you see yourself and your role!

Find out more about Dawna at www.FromInsightToAction.com