Managing Project Uncertainty

Planning for the Unknown

Managing Project Uncertainty - Planning for the Unknown

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Some projects are full of uncertainties.

Most projects have an element of uncertainty to them.

In many cases, you can use well-established risk management practices to deal with this. However, for cutting-edge projects, or for ones that must adapt to constantly changing conditions, you may not be able to foresee all risks when you start out. In these situations, you can manage uncertainty instead of trying to manage risk.

In this article, we'll outline four common types of uncertainty that you can face as a project manager, and we'll explore strategies that you can use to deal with them.

The Four Types of Uncertainty

Professors Arnoud De Meyer, Christoph Loch, and Michael Pich analyzed projects across a wide range of industries, and, from their research, identified four major types of uncertainty. They set out their findings in the MIT Sloan Management Review in 2002.

Their four types of uncertainty are:

  • Variation.
  • Foreseen uncertainty.
  • Unforeseen uncertainty.
  • Chaos.

Managing the Four Types of Uncertainty

We look at each type of uncertainty in more detail below. We'll also suggest strategies that you can use to manage each one.

1. Variation

Variation refers to ...

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