AIM Archives - Tag: certainty

Take these 5 steps to de-risk your big, scary project.


It’s easy to take the anxiety out of high-stakes projects: 1. Brainstorm all assumptions that must be true for your project to succeed. 2. Have each team member vote on “certainty” & “impact” for each assumption. 3. Debate & consolidate votes as a team. 4. Develop a plan to investigate high-impact, low-certainty assumptions. 5. Drive each assumption from uncertainty to certainty. If an assumption is not true, it’s a project-killing “landmine.” Find it early, celebrate… and start your next project.

To see how this is done, view the video at Project De-risking with Minesweeper

Apply the FAQS approach to your high-stakes project.


If your big project is successful, it will be because the assumptions it rested on were true. But when you start your project, you don’t know what is and is not true. Think of 4 factors in descending certainty: 1) Facts (we know what we know.) 2) Assumptions (we know what we think.) 3) Questions (we know what we don’t know.) 4) Surprises (we don’t know what we don’t know.) To “de-risk” your project, lay these out at the beginning of your project… and then drive each from uncertainty to certainty.

To see how this is done, view the video at Project De-risking with Minesweeper

Does the Ansoff Matrix make you think… “high risk”?


You know this 2×2 matrix: Projects in familiar markets & technologies are in the lower-left corner… the “core.” Most companies think projects outside this core are “risky.” But you can’t assign a level of “risk” because that requires assigning a probability of failure.  And you simply don’t know enough to do this. All you can say is you are “uncertain.” Good news: Uncertainty can be resolved by laying out all your assumptions and investigating each to drive it to certainty.

To see how this is done, view the video at Project De-risking with Minesweeper

When it comes to B2B customer needs, uncertainty exists in suppliers’ minds, not customers’.

163 Uncertainty 1

Many ventures try to create new products or services under conditions of market uncertainty. This is a huge challenge for B2C. But uncertainty does not exist in the minds of most B2B customers… who have great knowledge, interest, objectivity and foresight. If you know how to access this, your supplier uncertainty will plummet.

More in white paper, Lean Startup for B2B (page 12).

The more uncertain a new-product project, the better.

98 Uncertainty

With a high-certainty product project, you can accurately predict your financial profits. With an uncertain project, you face significant potential downside and upside profits. In B2B markets, you can understand the downside very early. You’ll kill the project cheaply if the downside cannot be eliminated. And reap big upside profits if it can.

You can methodically strip away uncertainty and de-risk your projects. This is done through a four-step process that combines Discovery-Driven Planning with New Product Blueprinting. Learn more in this white paper, Innovating in Unfamiliar Markets (page 5).