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

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19. Value Is Uncertain, Too

Stakeholders often excuse themselves from predicting new-system value because they reason that it’s too uncertain to predict. The truest answer they can think of when queried about expected value is, “I don’t know.” Stakeholders need to have the same knee-jerk reaction we urged upon you in Chapter 11: When they hear themselves saying “I don’t know,” they need to switch gears into uncertainty-bounding mode and begin drawing uncertainty diagrams.

Benefit? Well, That Depends . . .

For systems whose major effect is market enhancement rather than cost displacement, there are some real unknowns about likely benefit. The market may leap all over a new product, or it may respond with a ho hum. The competition may steal a ...

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