In a recent presentation, Tim speaks further about managing in the presence of uncertainty and the application of agile in software development. Plans NEVER go right, planning in presence of uncertainty, requires - DEMANDS actually - estimating risk, uncertainties, unknowns - on the project. When we hear about making decisions in the absence of estimating the probability of the drivers, impacts, and outcomes. As he says This is a crock just as the making decisions in the absence of estimating is a crock. Ignoring the probabilistic behaviour of impacts from the future - microeconomics - is as Tim suggests childish behaviour.
Managing in the Presence of Uncertainty
Here's an extract from a much larger briefing on managing complex, software intensive systems, in our domain - Enterprise IT. The critical issue here is uncertainty is always present. Failure to recognize this, failure to deal with it, failure to make decisions based on the underlying statistical and probabilistic aspects of this uncertainty is as Tim suggest childish.
If we're looking where we need estimates, look here potential - potential being something that might occur in the future. Potential cost, potential schedule, potential event.
Effective risk management - and therefore effective project management and effective value delivery - requires navigating through this causal chain, assessing the current potential for loss, and implementing strategies for minimizing the potential for loss. The next section builds on the concepts in this section by examining two fundamental approaches for analyzing risk.
So when we hear...
Decisions can be made in the absence of estimates. Ask how, ask to be shown the tangible evidence, ask for the mechanics this can be possible.