Managing Project Uncertainty: from Variation to Chaos

Topics: Project management, Management, Plan Pages: 1 (282 words) Published: October 26, 2011
Managing Project Uncertainty: From Variation to Chaos
Arnoud De Meyer, Christoph H. Loch & Michael T. Pich

The author analyzed the findings of a research, comprising of 16 projects in various areas and how their projects managers handled uncertainties which are inevitable in most projects. The author tried to unravel the reason behind the various failures to record successes on the part of these managers despite the fact that they has risk managemnet strategies in place, decision mile stones and sequential iteration. They found that most managers failed to recognize that there are different types of uncertainty, each requiring a different management approach.

This paper explores uncertainty-based management, which derives planning, monitoring and management style from an uncertainty profile comprising four types of uncertainty: variation, foreseen uncertainty, unforeseen uncertainty, and chaos. Although each uncertainty type is unique, a single project will typically display a blend of all four.

In variation, the project plan is detailed and stable, but project schedules and budgets drift from their projected values. Foreseen uncertainty is characterized by identifiable and understandable influences that the team cannot be sure will occur. Unforeseen uncertainty and chaos are the hardest categories to address because they require a balance between planning and learning. Projects featuring unforeseen uncertainty or chaos are common when the technology is in upheaval or when research, not development, is the main goal.

I agree with this article, because the article further illustrates how project managers can go about managing each type of uncertainty. The article also highlights the fact that uncertainty is an inevitable facet of most projects, and in an era of rapid change, it's time to rethink some of the traditions in project management.
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