Assumption->Risk->Assumption Lifecycle

Rich at Scope Crêpe has a nice post here on assumptions and risk.  I like the way he ties them together with the concept of an “assumption lifecycle.”  I also like the butterfly metaphor (can’t vouch for the accuracy of his biology here).  From his article:

Assumptions are the larval state of a risk: As you begin a project, you make some assumptions. These are typically conscious assumptions, such as: “the bedrock in the area we are digging is sufficiently deep enough for us not to be concerned about needing to blast”. Now you start to dig, the work crew informs you that they have encountered rock. This assumption has just matured. You have yourself a risk.

Spot on…we teach PMs to do two things to ameliorate this tendency to assume:

  1. Be explicit about your assumptions.
  2. Each assumption should have a corresponding risk identified.

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