26 January 2012

Risk is not discovered, it's chosen

Every so often I get a thought that puts an edge on one of my knives, and "Risk is not discovered, it's chosen" is one of them.

When you tell a stakeholder, "This project will be done in seven months," are you honest enough to tell her that there's a risk of not meeting that target, but she shouldn't worry about it, that you've made the decision about how much risk is acceptable on her behalf?

Given whatever method you use for estimating, do you even know what the probability of missing the target is?

Risk is a choice. The big question to ask is, "Has the choice been made knowingly? – And by the right person?"

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