Unmanaged Project Assumptions compressed

An Assumption Deferred | Managing Project Assumptions

(inspired by Langston Hughes)
What happens to assumptions made?
Do they shrivel up and blow away
when the wind is brisk?
Or fester and swell
like project risk?
Do they stink
like stakeholder feet?
Or are they handed to your team
like a sugary treat?
Maybe they bulge like a heavy load.
Or do they explode?

Assumptions Are Made

As we plan our projects, we all make assumptions. In doing so, we’re able to move forward without knowing every step on the road ahead. If we made no assumptions, we would make little progress.

The problem with assumptions isn’t that we make them. The problem with assumptions is that we leave them unattended. We leave them unverified. When we fail to follow through with the assumptions we’ve made, we build plans around inaccurate and incomplete information. This is where they expose our projects to risk.

Unfortunately, most assumptions are innocuous. They just sit there, then shrivel up and blow away. This is unfortunate because nothing happens; therefore, we become complacent. We do nothing.

Avoid Explosions

Not all project assumptions are innocuous. Some explode. They blow status reports like shrapnel and flip entire projects upside down.

Fortunately, most of these project-killing explosions can be avoided. We can avoid them by logging our assumptions, validating them and adjusting our plans to fit the new information.

By actively managing them, we can take the guesswork out of planning. In so doing, we give our projects more opportunities for success.

A Free Tool to Manage Assumptions

Here’s a free template for managing the assumptions made on your projects. May it help you reduce some project risk.

So, what happens to assumptions made? They become logged and validated. They are managed.

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