St. Francis College Management Professor Barbara Edington says that situations of uncertainty are not always a bad thing. She recently co-authored the book “The Silver Lining of Project Uncertainties” (Project Management Institute), which helps guide project managers in finding opportunities hidden within uncertainty.
“We know that this research is breaking new ground and shaking up the common belief that uncertainty should be avoided,” said Professor Edington who is also the Director of the Center of Excellence in Project Management at St. Francis. “But maybe Project Management Standards need to be shaken up!”
Edington says that projects provide a rich environment for both risks and uncertainties, and while classic project management provides a deep and broad array of techniques for managing risks, it does not address the methodology and tools necessary for dealing with uncertainty. She says it’s critical for Project Managers to know how to extract the potential value in those uncertainties.
The book, which is based on two years of research and interviews with various project managers, also clarifies the confusion that currently exists between uncertainty and risk. Edington and co-authors Thomas Lefler and Ting Gao cover an array of projects, including business and organizational change, construction, information systems and product and service development.
“Many project managers struggle with the uncertainty that is a natural part of any project,” added Dr. Edington. “Our research shows that the positive aspect of uncertainty can be uncovered given the right techniques and organizational support. From our study, we have created checklists and frameworks to help organizations reduce the fear and empower PMs to look for the silver lining.”