John Salter’s Blog

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  • Poor risk communication leads to foreseeable outcomes

    It was Monty Python who introduced me as a child to the black humour of the “bleeding obvious”.

    It is the government of South Australia which is playing out a Covid example.

    One of those principles is the “three point sermon” – Certainly not more than 9!
    There are well known principles around communicating risk

    So thirty scenarios is confusion – not clarity.

    Worse – it generates civil disobedience.

    The kicker is that everywhere else this had been tried – people just pretend to register. Sorry, my phone must have malfunctioned.
  • Significant Hazards

    Who had pandemic in their significant hazard list in October 2019?

  • The biro and pencil – urban myth 101 but also a useful story
    Travel lite – always ask – what is the minimum necessary to achieve the result

    One of my favourite scenes from the movie ‘Saving Private Ryan’ illustrates the importance of the “minimum necessary” principle. It also reminds me of the story about America spending big on biro development while Russia achieved the same outcomes using a pencil 😂. Myth. But a good joke – which unfortunately became internet mischief.

    … and yes, mine arrived yesterday 😂

    I use it as a prop to tell stories.

  • AgileBCP – favorite feature number 5 – a comprehensive and integrated workflow.

    AgileBCP is a tool which supports all nine elements of this comprehensive and integrated workflow.

  • AgileBCP – favorite feature number 4 – comprehensive, incisive information about critical resources.

    AgileBCP uses a ‘5 P’ heuristic with 3 questions informing each P.

    Yes, that’s fifteen questions 😂

  • AgileBCP – favorite feature number 3 – a structure focused on purpose.
    The AgileBCP database maps what is needed to achieve required objectives.

    Yes, it’s as simple as that 😂

  • AgileBCP – favorite feature number 2 – using ‘risk’ as a lens into future uncertainties
    In the real world, there are no silver bullets (magic, single-dose solutions)
    AgileBCP is a great tool – but it is not a ‘silver bullet’

    We recognize that risk is a concept.

    It is a useful concept as it helps us get a better handle on future uncertainties.

    The AgileBCP risk lens can (and should) be applied BEFORE a disruption event – and AFTER a disruption event.

    Before event risk is a function of resource criticality and vulnerability (to impact)
    After event risk is a function of resource criticality (which should be validated) and impact (on operability).

    Nature’s warning color – red – is used to stimulate discussion. A ‘red flag’ calls for serious and immediate considerations. Orange – important but probably not immediate, Yellow – cautionary and needing to be watched closely, Green – sound but still keep an eye on it.

    Color coding drives the conversation.

    Risk puts on notice the need for conversations about what ought to be done – and what does not need to be done. Indeed the only reason for risk assessment is in order to inform action – or inaction. Risk assessment has no inherent merit. It ought not to be academic. Risk exists, as a concept, in order to inform decisions.

    Once a decision is made, any implementation plan(s) should be kept as long as necessary but as short as possible. Specifying what needs to be done and what is needed to do it. Implementation plans are then supported by standard management practices of monitoring the achievement of the required outcomes by ensuring the plans are on track, on budget, and on time.

  • AgileBCP – favourite feature number 1 – risk criteria

    As we enter our finalising stages of our User Acceptance Testing (UAT) for the AgileBCP software platform, it’s time to let the cat out of the bag on some key features.

    First, for the things you care about, our Business Continuity algorithm focuses on criticality (to operability) and vulnerability (to impact).

    Central to our thinking is the appreciation that criteria based considerations provide a robust stimulation to good decision making.

    An added feature is the capability to tailor the criteria to align with your values.

  • Improving governance – a note to CEOs

    Today I made my “YourOughtWe decision-making app” available.

    I think it is a useful tool to support better decisions.

    It addresses several of the key needs being voiced across our community.

    People in South Australia are not alone in calling for better decision-making
    (Ref Advertiser, Oct 2021)
    National agendas are focused on the need for better decision making
    State agendas recognize the value of better decision making

    If you want your “governance people” to look at my offer please share this note and direct them to YourOghtWe description and YourOughtWe example

  • Comes with a caution …

    I was sitting quietly in the corner at the party – enjoying watching people catch up with each other.

    He quietly came over and sat down next to me.

    “G’day mate, what you been up to?” said the friend of long-standing who I had not seen for many years.

    So I gave him the short version of transferring my thinking into software – such as the OughtWe Decision Maker.

    He paused, reflected, smiled ruefully and said two things.

    – “how many consulting gigs have you done where the situation is appreciated in the first briefing?“

    – “given what you know about how the world works, how the hell do you think this app – which has embedded elements of transparency, rigour, and accountability – is going to sell?”

    Hmmm … good point.

    So be warned

    We all have difficult decisions in life.

    I still think it’s worth basing them on facts, assessing the available information, and reviewing options with rigour.

    Therefore I offer you the OughtWe Decision Maker for your consideration.

    It might be one of your best “one dollar buys”.

A tale of fiascos and dilemmas – lessons from Bangladesh garment factories

Where there is inadequate management of risk during the implementation of a project the very outcome being sought is often compromised.

That is now the case with the Accord on Fire and Building Safety which was a welcome initiative following the tragic deaths of five years ago.
The Government has “found itself” short on factories to standard – and short on inspectorate capability to build capacity and assure compliance. Combined with an economy where 80% of exports are from the rag trade, it has chosen to put pressure on the very body it needs to get things right.
Instead of a solution, they have created a problem. And compounding that, it was a foreseeable problem. How this plays out over the next few weeks will be very interesting – and hopefully, not tragic. If you are looking for a challenge then consider applying for the position below which was advertised today.
Getting the resolution of this dilemma right will require rigour and sensitivity, balance and good risk management. If that does not happen, the compromises will fall hard – on everyone.