Penalty x Risk = Maximum Preventative Spend

30 07 2015

“Ideas are like pizza dough, made to be tossed around.” ~Anna Quindlen

“You better cut the pizza in four pieces, because I’m not hungry enough to eat 6.” ~Yogi Berra (bonus quote, just for the laugh)

There’s often more than one way to skin the cat, when it comes to work things.  Want a compliance program?  You can create pages of checklists and audits, or you can reactively respond to the IRS and states when they say you’re out of compliance.  Want a training program?  You can simply tell your manager to train the new kid, or you can create detailed training manuals for every move that is made in the workplace (and several ways are in-between).  Disaster recovery manuals can range from “how to reset the server” to multi-volume documents anticipating every possible emergency (and then one happens that nobody thought of, anyway!).  I’ve seen both ends of all of these bell curves, and there is merit in different solutions for different challenges.

When it’s time to invest energy in getting something built for a company, team, or family it’s important to determine what the GOAL is, and what the RISKS are.  You can then weight the different options against that goal.  Does the bare minimum meet your requirements, or do you need to have a bullet-proof solution, that covers every possibility?  The best way to find a fair solution (one that meets the goal, but doesn’t burden the group with complexity) is to get representatives from each part of the team, and work through it together.  Toss those ideas around, and decide how bullet-proof it has to be, then invest the effort to get to that point, and no further.  Like buying insurance, you weight the cost of some mistake happening, and mulitiply it by the risk of that thing happening.  If your solution costs more than the math problem says, you don’t do it, because it’s cheaper in the long run to deal with the consequences of the mistake.  If it costs less to avoid the chance of it happening, then you’re on the right track.

Speaking of pizza…


Rubes cartoons used with permission.




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