What can Grover teach us about risk management?

In a book called Project Manager’s Spotlight on Risk Management by Kim Heldman, the author references The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone and Michael Smollin to demonstrate the importance of having a risk response plan for dealing with monsters and threats in projects.

I took this allegory a step further and actually read this book to a room full of adults during my presentations on risk management basics.

In the book, Grover is concerned with the monster he is going to find at the end of this book. To mitigate this threat, Grover spends thousands of dollars on costly building supplies to prevent us from turning pages, so that we do not get to the end of the book.

As a risk management professional, I appreciate Grover’s proactive risk management approach, but unfortunately, our blue, furry little friend overreacts to the threat.

If he had only performed a proper risk assessment, rather than basing it on anecdotal evidence – he learns about the monster by reading the title page only – Grover may have realized that the monster did not have the catastrophic impact he expected it to have. It turns out the risk was not even material.

With more due diligence, Grover may have chosen a different risk treatment: he could have accepted the risk by doing nothing or transferred it to someone more naïve like Elmo.

This book is a great primer on risk management and one that your three-year old might also enjoy.

4 thoughts on “What can Grover teach us about risk management?

  1. Holy crap. I read this book when I was a kid. I didn’t realize it was risk management propaganda! Neil Postman was right!

    (Oh, the humanity.)

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