It’s always been my experience that when you put a bunch of people in a room and ask them to identify the risks their organization faces, they come up with the easy ones – the generic ones – and not the real risks lurking throughout. While doing a workshop for a project implementation, all I got were: “not enough time”, “not enough resources” and “not enough money”. Last I checked these come right out of the PMP handbook.

Over the years I’ve developed something called the Wheel of Fortune Method. When I was a kid, when Chuck Woolery hosted Wheel, and the contestants picked letters for the final grand prize puzzle at the end, they always picked these letters: R-S-T-L-N-E because these were the letters which most frequently appeared in the solutions.

Jump forward twenty years when I began watching Wheel again, and I note that Pat Sajak now reveals the letters R-S-T-L-N-E to the contestants then asks them to pick additional letters. Clearly, the producers are picking the low hanging fruit and coming up with more difficult puzzles by trying to exclude these letters and forcing contestants to think more creatively.

That is what I try to do in my workshops. I provide participants with the easy risks right up front so we don’t spend any time documenting the obvious thus forcing them to think outside the the box about real uncertainties.

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