Massachusetts Institute of Technology | [b] Global Project Design | [c]
University of Tokyo
Corresponding author: Bryan R. Moser, PhD MIT Building E40-381 77 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02139-4307, USA. Tel.: +1 617 253 8973; E-mail: [email protected].
Abstract: This paper reviews risk management as commonly applied in engineering projects, addresses shortcomings, and introduces additional thinking on uncertainty in engineering projects. Despite practices in risk management, unexpected events leading to unacceptable outcomes continue to occur. As practiced, common methods rest upon input and judgement from experts, in particular to evaluate the exposure and systemic effects of risk. Limitations are well known, including errors, disparate use of qualitative measures, biases and overconfidence, prioritization and focus on local effect rather than systemic value, and meaningless combined exposure scores. By viewing the engineering project as a sociotechnical system, we place human expertise not as constraint but as fundamental to the system. Rather than removal of human judgment, we seek to position people to leverage existing judgment within limits of relevance while stimulating attention and learning towards systemically relevant options. We propose the design of projects that incorporate human attention in identification and response to risks as learning and coordination within the project’s broader sociotechnical architecture.