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Enjoy a roller coaster this weekend
It's comforting to know fewer people die from roller coasters than they do just from walking around.

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Further to +John Marc Thibault   post, here is the info on SIPMath from the non-profit

Projects don’t finish on time and on cost, not from lack of effort, but a systematic flaw in the planning

Why is that?

Project Plans employ many tasks, many factors, but don’t consider the range of outcomes for each task.  

Whether it’s a whole project or a single task, “How long will it take?” doesn’t have just one answer. It has a whole bunch of answers, each with its own chance of being right. 

To illustrate: let’s look at the chances of getting to work by 9 AM.  

Like projects, we may thing of this in terms of 3 steps in sequence.
1. Wake up at 7
2. Leave the house by 8
3. Brave traffic for an hour
4. Arrive at work by 9 AM

1. We guess that we will wake up at 7 AM, because we usually wake up between 6.45 AM and 7.15 AM.

2. For step 2, usually takes us 45 min to 1:15 min to get ready.  We estimate an hour to get ready.

3. Traffic to work is usually 45 min to 1:15 min, so we estimate it will take us an hour to get to work.

The traditional project plan would add each of these steps together to estimate total time “to complete” or get to work.  

The project plan would show, we get up at 7 AM, leave the house at 8 AM, brave traffic for an hour, and will get to work, or “complete the project” by 9 AM

This is the CRUX of why projects are often late.

1. The odds of waking up on time is 50% or ½
2. The odds of  leaving the house by 8 is 50% or ½
3. The odds of traffic taking an hour to get to work is 50% or ½

When we incorporate a range of outcomes into the project plan we discover that:

50% * 50% * 50% = 12.5% 

In reality, there is only a 12.5% chance we will get to work on time.

Imagine a complex project with hundreds of steps or variables, each with its own range of outcomes and the problem gets more severe.

The fix, is to look at the individual steps and outcomes and optimize the outcome to a certain task date (or cost), or provide a more realistic and defensible timeframe.

At APM, we work with you, to illuminate where your risk is and then help you manage it.  

For more information visit

Or Contact Rob Szold at 647-965-2706

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+John Marc Thibault  has developed an oustanding project management application that addresses the issue of why projects are often late and over budget.  Stay tuned!

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If averages are flawed, what do we use instead?

If averages are flawed, what do we use instead?

The answer to that question lies in the answer to another question, "Average of what?"

We get an average by adding two or more numbers and dividing the result by the count of numbers we added up. 

So, for every average, there's a bunch of numbers. That's what we use instead.

Consider a neighborhood pub with a bunch of ordinary people in it. If Bill Gates were to walk in, the average income of the people in the pub would skyrocket. That average would be completely useless for any conceivable purpose other than to illustrate a point about averages: When all you have is an average, you don't know whether Bill Gates is in the room. On the other hand, if you have a list of everyone's incomes, the situation is clear.

An average throws away a lot of information. We want to keep the numbers and preserve that information. Where someone else would use an average (or any other single number), we use a SIP: all those numbers in a useful structure we can use for calculation.

Since a big list of numbers is not very informative to look at, we turn SIPs into informative images: histograms and S-curves, and other graphic devices. 

Go to for more about SIPs.

#flawofaverages     #probabilitymanagement     #probability  
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