Sunday, November 19, 2006

The tale of the Ghost in the twilight (Airport) zone

Alec Saunders tells an interesting story about airport security and risk.
It is interesting in two ways, at least: I see it as a matter of information transport and risk assessment.

What I see at first is that every airport has its own security problems, but -somehow- they are managed differently depending on where are your source and destination: are you going to or coming in.
It's sort of anisotropic behavior of filters, it applies to information diffusion as well: some information could find the "best" path nearly unassisted. Irreverent news story spreads out regardless of all the security constraints and barriers, good viral marketing stimuli diffuse in the whole blogosphere in just few hours.
The point is that: there is always a path.

The other interesting lesson is that, despite the effort you put as a project manager (or an entrepeneur) to limit the risk of failure of a project, there is always somebody that re-estimates the risk associated with an unforeseen event (Alec's U-turn) without informing the rest of the team (or the superior) so that it could have taken adequate actions.
Alec walked unattended in lots of places, he's a good guy but... who assessed that?
And you, PM, are you managing the risk of your team being underestimating the risks?

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