The Riskier Risk

two cars on roadI was out for another bike ride this past weekend and I noticed once again how differently the drivers in Virginia and New York behave. In Virginia, drivers seem to stay in the far right of their lane, hugging the white line. In New York, the opposite is true: drivers seem to prefer the center yellow line and leave as much space as possible on the right.

I really don’t think this is a reflection of any particular political bias, and I’m pretty sure I have figured out why:  In New York, there are tons of parked cars, kids playing, doors opening–all sorts of risks on the right hand side.  On the left side, the oncoming vehicles are downright predictable–a much more tolerable risk. By comparison, most of the time, mile after mile, all there is on the right hand side in Virginia is a soft shoulder.  There doesn’t seem to be any risk on the right compared to a half ton of metal coming toward you at a combined speed near 100 MPH on the left.

Sure, I’m generalizing, but drivers in both states are picking the risk they prefer over the riskier risks.  And that strikes me as pretty much the point of Soni’s blog offering last week. Risks are all around us in every interaction and it is our job to try our best to manage and minimize those risks.  It would be dumb to drive without regard to risk, and just as short sighted to run a large project without the right safety gear and “safety software” to keep risk under control.

Which risks concern you the most?

  • Being the contractor who somehow used drawings that were not up-to-date?

  • Being blamed by some contractor for not informing them of a change?

  • Being the project partner who doesn’t have enough audit trail documentation to appease the lawyers when they are looking for a place to lay the blame when something has gone wrong? [This actually happened to one of our clients before they came to us.]

No matter which risk or risks seem most critical and relevant to you, the answer starts with being super organized and proving you were super organized every step of the way. The best way that I know of accomplishing that is to use a project management system that was designed, not just to help keep the project moving, but also to understand that controlling risk is part of the process.

To learn more about the Spitfire Project Management System, visit