Uncertainty or Risk - Is there any difference?
APM Risk SIG October Event – “Uncertainty or Risk – Is there any difference?”
On 24th October 2013 the APM Risk SIG ran an event at Chemring in Romsey which about 60 people attended.
Martin Hopkinson (Risk Management Capability Ltd) presented on the fact that risks are significant uncertainties. The theme of Martin's presentation was around understanding the uncertainties associated with your project and being careful around the fact that people tend to be optimistic when estimating.
Terry Johns (RiskHive) presented on the use of cost models within the MoD assurance process and the importance of documenting your assumptions when estimating.
Chris Tubbs(Met Office) presented on the uncertainties around predicting the weather forecast. The use of various models to identify the likelihood of the conditions near and further term, how the uncertainties become greater the further into the future the forecast is being looked at.
Stephen Ward (University of Southampton) presented on the importance of good project management, of which uncertainty management is one element. This can be broken down in to four types of uncertainty all of which need to be effectively managed with the appropriate level of planning and decision making.
Derek Wright (Chemring Technology Solutions) presented a case study of a data links project for CT scanners. He talked about a number of risks, uncertainties and opportunities that were identified through the project life and how some of them were managed, particularly the design patents associated with this unique equipment.
There was much debate during the day with the final session of the day wrapping up with the question whether risk and uncertainty are any different. The consensus of opinion in the group is that uncertainty is a key factor in all risk. Terminology can cloud the subject but the uncertainties in any project need to be well understood and clearly articulated in order to be managed effectively to enable the end objectives to be achieved. These need to be clearly communicated to your stakeholders particularly at the senior management / executive level.
Thank you to all the speakers for their time and efforts and for the audience for joining in the debate, a very useful and informative day.