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Managing Risk

By Steve Jones,

Risk Board GameEvery time that we make a decision in our jobs we are dealing with risk. All our evaluations about whether to use stored procedures or dynamic SQL include some evaluation of the risks of the choice. Often it's subconscious, but we weigh the risk of getting locked into one method, of more work now v more work later and what that might mean about our performance, about our reputation, what possible implications might be for our current hardware, and more.

Risk is essentially the probability of a variety of outcomes, our guess about what is likely and how much of a gamble we are willing to take in some situation. The vast majority of the time we internalize the analysis and just make a decision based on what we think is most likely to happen. If we didn't do that and considered too many outcomes (forget every outcome, that's too hard), we'd be paralyzed and slow to make any decision.

There was an interesting article in eWeek about how to gain a competitive advantage from managing the risk in your company. It talks about understanding your environment, measuring it, and trying to reduce those risks that might cause you problems. In many ways it's merely restating some obvious techniques of being a more efficient enterprise and casting the ideas in a different light.

And sometimes that's all you need to do.

Stop and look at things again, revisit your assumptions and make sure that you are doing things for the right reasons: they improve the business, they get work completed, they make sales, or something similar. Don't just do them because that's the way they've been done in the past. Re-evaluate your processes and plans, ensuring that they still apply in your current environment.

Steve Jones


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Steve Jones