Risk management is often not culturally acceptable

Yesterday I at last received the book “Waltzing with Bears” by Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister. The book is about managing risk on software projects. The book was ordered few weeks ago (together with few other books) from Com.Books. Due to difficulties in obtaining this out-of-print book, it arrived few weeks after the other books.

As I read the book, and as I recall an argument I had yesterday with someone, I notice the fact that several people, even apparently rational ones, employ magic based thinking. They say that if you mention a risk, the very fact that you mention, or even think about, a risk dramatically increases the probability it will materialize. They say it when I want to practice risk management together with me.

I would like to suggest the following magic antidote: while it may be magicallytrue that if you think about a risk, you may cause it to materialize. However, if you think about a risk with the mindset of managing it, and then you do something to mitigate the risk, and you have a plan how to deal with the risk, should it materialize - then the very fact you are thinking about all those things magically reduces the probability of materialization of the risk. Furthermore, even if risk does materialize, then it would do so in a tempered way, without incurring annoyance, anger. Sometimes even with a feeling of excitement about the unexpected adventure, which brings some interest to one’s life.

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