AIM Archives - Tag: uncertainty

Apply the FAQS approach to your high-stakes project.

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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”?

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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

No one steps on a landmine they can see

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A project landmine is something that blows up budgets, schedule and reputations. No one steps on one they can see. So why don’t we look for them harder and earlier in a project life? Because we’ve been conditioned to think that killing our project equates to failure. Instead, we should identify areas of uncertainty as early as possible. Celebrate when you kill your own project swiftly… and celebrate when you try hard and are unable to kill it.

View video, De-risking Transformational Projects

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

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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.

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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).

Innovators should understand that uncertainty is different than risk.

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If you’re asked to cross an unfamiliar chasm, would it be risky? Hard to say. Until you learn if you’ll face a bridge or a tightrope, you can’t assess risk (probability). You’re just uncertain. Many companies fear risk in an unfamiliar market, when they should map out a plan to reduce uncertainty. This is especially easy to do in B2B markets.

More in white paper, Innovating in Unfamiliar Markets (pages 2-3).