Modern Project Management

(ISSN: 2317-3963)

Handling Risk and Uncertainty in Project Planning

Jan Emblemsvag
Norwegian University of Science and Technology Norway


There are basically three avenues for dealing with risk and uncertainty in project planning as – 1) forecast its impact before making a decision, 2) maneuver or adapt to uncertainty and risks that materializes and thus making it irrelevant, or 3) accept it. To discuss this the very definitions of uncertainty and risk are revisited because there is great confusion about uncertainty and its cousin risk – also in the literature. Once a proper distinction between these two concepts are established, the paper will show that if project planning is contemplated as ‘planning for coordination’ we can augment it with agility to handle surprises, which is in contradistinction with the ‘planning the future’ approach which is path dependent and fails to handle surprises.

Keywords: Project planning ,risk ,uncertainty ,agility ,



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