Risk Blindness in Project Management

Views > Program and Project Management > Idea > Risk Blindness in Project Management

Risk Blindness in Project Management
Jose Daniel Esterkin, CEO, Argentina

Risk blindness is the condition by which a project team or project manager do not see the possible risks of the project. This is a psychological phenomenon common in many organizations: risk-blind people believe that other people claiming to see risks are delusional and fighting imaginary foes. Risk blindness is a serious ailment that can have a major negative impact on organizations and projects, because one on the key abilities needed to fight risk is to be real, to be objective and to be rational (not emotional) about the following question: "What can go wrong in this project?".

We can say that risk in a project represents uncertainty. This is related to the question "What certainty do we have about following the plan we've just written?".

In the case of risk-blindness, one of the causes of this phenomenon is "Wishful thinking": you want that bad things will not happen, and unconsciously you turn your wish into reality. "The provider will comply with the terms of the contract", "No team member will be retired from the project", "Sector X is going to cooperate with the project". Are you sure? Will this happen just because you want it to happen?

Recovering from risk blindness is usually a gradual process; it is common for the risk-blind to gain risk sight incrementally. Organizations or project teams that want to avoid surprises and learn to become responsive rather than reactive will recognize the need for treatment and support until they can see clearly for themselves. The first step is to analyze risks rationally and not emotionally.

Source: "Managing Risk in Projects", David Hillson, 2009.

React  |  More on the Author  |  More on this Interest Area

Other Views by this Author: The Value of Projects for Businesses | The Role of a Facilitator for a Project Manager | A Project Manager Must Have Analytical and Intuitive Skills, do You Have the Two Halves?

About 12manage | Advertising | Link to us / Cite us | Privacy | Suggestions | Terms of Service
© 2022 12manage - The Executive Fast Track. V15.8 - Last updated: 4-7-2022. All names ™ of their owners.