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Waltzing with Bears: Managing Risk on Software Projects by Timothy Lister, Tom DeMarco

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6. The Onus of Uncertainty

Corporate culture—whatever that means—poses serious challenges to the would-be risk manager. The most important of these is an attitude toward uncertainty that can thwart even the best-intended effort. The attitude is summed up as follows:

It’s okay to be wrong, but not okay to be uncertain.

If that rule describes your company, you’re sunk.

The rule says you may miss your promised delivery date—even miss it by a mile—but in the months and days leading up to that date, you’re not allowed to express any doubt that you will indeed deliver on time. Failure is tolerated as long as you don’t commit the capital crime of admitting beforehand that you might fail. Another expression of the rule is that you can ask for forgiveness ...

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