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How to Manage Project Opportunity and Risk: Why uncertainty management can be a much better approach than risk management by Stephen Ward, Chris Chapman

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Chapter 3

Key motives for uncertainty management

The Light of Lights looks always on the motive, not the deed, The Shadow of Shadows on the deed alone.

—William Butler Yeats

Chapters 1 and 2 argued for an uncertainty management perspective concerned with understanding where and why uncertainty is important and when it is not an issue. Proactive management of important uncertainty leads to benefits beyond improved control and neutralization of threats. It can facilitate enhanced project performance by influencing and guiding a project’s objectives, parties, designs and plans. However, these benefits are not automatic – they depend very much on the scope and quality of the uncertainty management processes carried out. So much so that potential benefits should be identified up front, and proactively sought out by designing and employing uncertainty management processes accordingly. In this manner, potential benefits of proactive management should be used to clarify appropriate objectives for each specific application of uncertainty management, objectives which then need active pursuit.

The opportunities for uncertainty management during the lifecycle of any given project are considerable. Part of an effective understanding of this wide scope involves understanding how and why the objectives of uncertainty management applied at different stages in the project lifecycle can change significantly. The concerns at different stages vary. Further, what is known about the project changes, ...

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