Three types of risks you need to watch out for

When you are preparing for things that might go wrong in your project, you have to determine how unknown or likely some problems are going to be. This is useful and I will explain why. You see, future events that may or may not happen fall into three separate categories. Here they are:

  1. We know something bad is definitely going to happen. We just don’t know when. An example of this is death. We all know we are going to die, we just don’t know when.
  1. We know something might happen at some point. For example you know that it might rain tomorrow. For these kinds of events we may have some estimate of the likelihood of the event happening. We may say there is a 60% chance that we will have light rain tomorrow, a 20% chance that it will rain heavily and 20% chance that it won’t rain at all.
  1. We don’t know what we don’t know. This is when we are in unchartered territory. There are things that may happen that we are not even aware of. This usually happens when you are in a zone that you are not familiar with, a domain where you have no experience or knowledge. Remember the saying “a little knowledge is dangerous”? I will give you an example.

Say you are not really tech savvy at all. You create a website where users can fill in some fields and retrieve information. You used a good website creation tool for that. It has SSL, the security that you heard was important to keep websites safe. However what you did not know is that a hacker can bypass all of that by using something called SQL injection: basically inserting database query code in the fields that you have set up instead of entering the information that you expected. By doing that your application will happily give him information he was not supposed to be able to collect. You did not know that such a thing even existed. You did not know what you did not know.

Now I am not going to get into how to deal with these scenarios. That will be the subject of another article. For now make sure you understand what you’re getting into every time you plan your projects or activities.

Look out for my other posts on how to deal with risks. Let me know what you think of this one. Add a comment.

Thanks for reading.


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