I just completed part two of the Project Management Certification program at DePaul University. Of the many processes involved in project management, risk management and quality management interest me most. The idea of building in quality and creating contingency plans to mitigate risks appeals to a cautious person like me.
Seth Godin’s post on Control or Resilience asks us to consider to which point we build-in controls and quality in order to mitigate risk. At some point, the return on investment lessens, and we just have to take the leap and make the change. We should simply accept that there will be a certain level of controlled chaos resulting in a “herding of the cats” towards the final objective .
It’s tempting to invest time, money and emotion into gaining control over the future. Security guards, written policies, reinforced concrete—there are countless ways we can enforce our control over nature, random events and fellow humans.
The problem is that while the first round of control pays huge dividends (keeping rabbits out the yard is a good way to make your garden grow), over time more control creates brittleness. The Maginot Line didn’t hold up very well, and the hundred-year floodwalls don’t work in face of a thousand-year flood.
The alternative is to invest in resilience, to build systems that can handle (or even thrive) when the unforeseen happens.
In one case, you can say, “when the roads are smooth, when you read the instructions, when conditions are ideal, this is the very best solution.”
In the other case, you can say, “if people don’t read the rider, if the unexpected happens, if there’s a surprise attack, we won’t be perfect, but it’ll work better than any other alternative, which is a pretty good plan.”
Photo Credit: Aria Carlston
Categories: Professional Development