Risk Management

Why Are My Investments Sinking?

Complexity of Mental Processing (CMP) is significant not only in its relationship with designing requisite organizations and optimizing managerial hierarchy. Would you like your portfolio manager to be Level 1 or Level 8?


Bibliography of articles on project risk management and escalation of commitment

I wanted to note some interesting articles that I found useful in my work with IT over the past few years, including Risk Management and Escalation of Commitment.

These articles deal with Project Risk Management. Admittedly, I focus on RM for IT projects, so this is heavily skewed towards development and implementation projects that ar…

Project Portfolios Require High-Level Capability

Mountains near Château-d'Oex. (c) E. Forrest Christian

In Waltzing With Bears, Lister and DeMarco describe the benefits of running IT projects within a portfolio. Not every one of them would have to succeed: you could take on several very high-risk (but high-payoff) projects and balance it with several low risk / low payoff projects. Having low-risk/high pay-off projects would be great, but most of the time those have already been done. You have a…

Risky Monocultures: In Agriculture or IT Systems, It’s Bad Risk Taking

Aberdeen Angus im Gadental an den Steilhängen des Muttawangjoch oder auch Mutterwangjoch genannt. Im Hintegrund die Südflanke des Feuerstein 2271m. (c) Böhringer Friedrich (CC BY-SA 3.0 AT)

You wouldn’t think that books discussing agronomics would have much to say relevant to Organizational Structure, IT Management or Knowledge Management. You’d be wrong, of course, but you can see how people would think that. I’d like to show how some of the ideas being debated in the agricultural industry’s fringes can illuminate our own issues.

James C. Scott, in Seeing Like a State: How…

Risk Taking, Risk Management and Software Project Management

Since IT projects are particularly prone to ignoring risk and escalation of commitment, reviewing some of the research on how we make decisions will benefit any IT manager or PM.

De-escalation of Commitment to Projects

Leaving Yongsan Station. (c) Danleo (CC BY 2.5). Via Wikimedia Commons.

There is a large body of work dealing with the escalation of commitment in IT projects, how managers continue to throw good money after bad, increasing their commitment to a project that has little chance of succeeding. For example, Gustavo Dimello has an interesting summary (“To Pull or Not To Pull the Plug: When Managers Commit Themselves to Failure”) of some of the recent research in managers’…

Forecasting through Role Playing

For example. Kesten C. Green has a great paper on the efficacy of role playing vs. game theory vs. individual assessment for conflicts involving small numbers of parties with a lot at stake. He finds that role playing is the only forecasting method he tested that actually predicts what w…

Power of Mediocrity: Being Great Takes Risk

Meeting room, table and paper board. (c) 2008 Luis Argerich of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Via Wikimedia. (CC BY 2.0)

You’re never going to burn bright when your goal is to not get your fingers burnt.

Risk Aversion and Risk Taking

The Great Ravenna Boulevard Sinkhole, 1957. Seattle Municipal Archives (CC BY 2.0)

We are basically risk averse. Most of the people that you think are going to be risk-averse, are. For example, older workers, workers with seniority, and those in stereotypically risk-averse industries (e.g., retail banking) are more risk averse than others where other variables are constant.

INFOSEC got most of its people from banking, and most from a very conservative bank that never really…

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