Sep 29, 2012

Project Uncertainty

File:Cone of Uncertainty.jpg
There are four types of Uncertainty in Projects

Variation - comes from many small influences and yields a range of values on a particular activity

Foreseen Uncertainty - are identifiable and understood influences that the team cannot be sure will occur

Unforeseen Uncertainty - can’t be identified during project planning

Chaos - projects subject to unforeseen uncertainty start out with reasonably stable assumptions and goals, projects subject to chaos do not. Even the basic structure of the project plan is uncertain, as is the case when technology is in upheaval or when research, not development, is the main goal.

These ideas are from the work of Arnoud De Meyer, Christoph H. Loch and Michael T. Pich in the MIT Sloan Management Review, WINTER 2002. Their work can also be found at


  1. WHAT? unforeseen uncertainty? WAY ABOVE MY PAYGRADE!!! lol

  2. See, it sounds more elegant than saying, "there are known unknowns... and there at thing we know we don't know..."


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