Reduce Risks or Increase Chances

This small thought was elaborated with some friends at a late summer night. Not sure if it has any greater meaning to life and work or if it just  a late night mumbo jumbo.
It’s possible it’s described before by other distinguished thinkers but let me share our thoughts.

In “the big company” there is lot of effort spent in risk management, risk analysis and risk reduction – what if we spend all that time and effort on increase our chances to succeed instead ? At first it might not sound like a big difference but perhaps it is, at least in attitude and mindset.

 Reducing risks makes you think of all the threats and things that might happen to prevent success for your project like “things being more complex than estimated”, “integration takes time before get it working”,  “critical deliveries not made in time”, “key resources are needed for other tasks”, etc. All with the focus to make the critical path under control. By this there is a built-in believe that there is one correct path to walk and the task is to find threats and remove obstacles while walking that path. An increase chance based approach would be to work on finding more than one critical path to success. It may turn out that such a mindset will increase our success rate.

Let’s look at a simplified metaphor:
Take an ordinary dice and assume a “6” is success of your project and 1 to 5 is failure where 1 is the most critical failure. A risk based approached would be to put in most effort on trying to remove the number 1. If you do your job well the 1 is gone and your chance for success is increased to 1 to 5. A chance based approached is to look at what is close to success, in this case a “5” and put all effort to make the 5 turn into a “6”. If you are doing this job well your chances for success is 2 to 6. Slightly better!

Dices in transformation
(Actual to make  the picture work the dice should turn into a 5-sided dice…)

What can this mean in our daily project work?
Is there a difference between the glass being half empty or half full?

This nightly session with some friends didn’t find any further answers…

Cheers
Johan (Welund) Westerlund
Thanks Fredrik Tystad and Andreas Pettersson for your contribution

About Johan (Welund) Westerlund

Coach, Mentor and Trainer of Teams, Leaders and Organizations in Lean/Agile Values, Principles, Methods and Tools. Founder of Uniqa Team AB
This entry was posted in Agile Thinking, Change, Leadership, Lean, Risk Management, Transformation. Bookmark the permalink.

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