30. Dancing with Risk

Our book Waltzing With Bears: Managing Risk on Software Projects takes issue with two opposite kinds of behavior: risk-taking without risk management, and risk-aversion that makes impossible the accomplishment of anything ambitious. What we now see in increasing numbers are organizations that manage to err on both sides: They take on one class of stupid risk with impunity, while avoiding the very ones that might be indicators of transformational value.

The Peopleware premise—our main problems are more likely to be sociological than technological in nature—applies nowhere more strongly than in the area of risk. The mechanics of risk management are widely understood; when it doesn’t get done, the reason is likely to be in ...

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