Intellectual Honesty of Managing in the Presence of Uncertainty

There was a post yesterday where the phrase embrace the intellectual  honesty of uncertainty and a picture of Dice. I interpreted – possibly wrongly – that picture meant uncertainty is the same as tossing dice and gambling with your project. 

While uncertainty is certainly part of project management, it’s not gambling, it’s not guessing. It’s probability and statistics.

So when someone suggests that tossing dice is the same as embracing uncertainty ask a few questions:

  • Do you have a model of the underlying uncertainties of your project. The reducible and irreducible uncertainties?
  • Do you have reference classes for the past performance of the work you are planning to perform?
  • Do you have mitigation plans for the reducible uncertainties?
  • Do you have margin for the irreducible uncertainties?

Of the answer to these is NO, then you are in fact tossing the dice for your project’s success.

Recommended article: Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.
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