This category contains 14 posts

We’re not extinct yet

I was encouraged by Matthew Leitch’s taxonomy of bad behaviour to drag up a list of bad arguments I pulled together for a book that didn’t get published some time ago.  I thought it might contribute to the risk culture debate.  The abortive book was on climate risk and now I look back I see that the discussion was unsurprisingly climate-focussed. […]

Risk appetite – the official definition

Earlier this week I attended a grand occasion – the launch of the Infrastructure Risk Group’s report on Managing Cost and Uncertainty in Infrastructure Projects.  This was held at the Institution of Civil Engineers, sponsored by the IRM, and the endorsements were provided by Andrew Wolstenholme, boss of Crossrail, Lord Deighton, the Treasury Commercial Secretary […]

The ‘too difficult’ style

I was brought up short the other day while reading, of all things, the Cambridge alumni rag, Cam.  It was an article by Michael Hurley, a lecturer in English, on how literary language can sometimes communicate better than plain English.  His closing sentence is, “straight talk can be a prophylactic against mendacious or muddled thought, but […]

I know what you’re thinking …

I’ve been thinking about the short exchange I had with Matthew Leitch when he disagreed with my description of his article on risk registers.  It seems we live in different worlds.  His appears to be one in which risk lists and all the associated barbarisms of matrices and traffic lights have been discredited and, presumably, […]

Words in his mouth

In the course of reviewing Doug Hubbard’s book on failing risk management, I thought it was worth a little wanderette on how much Thomas Bayes has been abused, or bigged up depending on how you see it.  I thought it would go as follows. “Bayes’ contribution to posterity was to get his name against a formula for joint probabilities which […]

Don’t worry, the end is nigh

The next article on this site is to be about applying M Bricolage’s antifragility ideas to organisational risk management.  Not surprisingly I thought it was time to take a break for a little light amusement.  I’ve just discovered that the University of Cambridge is thinking about setting up a Centre for the Study of Existential Risk.  To my slight disappointment […]

Always look on the bright side of life

Matthew Leitch has asked some questions on my Risk workshops post which I think are aimed at my use of terminology and, specifically, the treatment of good things which could happen.  This seemed to be worth its own Wandering. The term I’d prefer to use about the clouds of vagueness wreathing the ways things will work out […]

Just saying

Well, my 15 minutes didn’t arrive.  After all the excitement and taking time to prepare, my interviewers stood me up.  I was left to do a Tweet-in on risk with a crowd of project management enthusiasts.  I guess it was roughly what I expected: volleys of tweets on a range of subjects with very hard-to-follow […]


I’m looking forward right now to an interesting experience: getting interviewed on the radio.  I’ve been asked to talk about my book Estimating Risk.  The interviewers are from a US-based internet radio channel, PMChat, who do an interview once a week on Fridays and follow it up with a Twitter chat between their followers.  Apart […]


One of my previous Wanderings mused on the power of soundbites, and specifically the encomium, “nothing between men is 3 to 1.”  Turned into more mathematical language we get the Harry the Horse Theorem: in a two point sample space where the outcome is affected by the action of humans, managers, or anyone else who thinks […]