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Plan, Don’t Panic – Part 1

 

Originally aired on 4/2/2020

55 Minutes

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COVID-19 is forcing us all into a “new normal” when it comes to getting work done. With so many more industry professionals working remotely, it’s more challenging than ever to produce the collaboration and communication critical to successful project planning. 

Fortunately, InEight develops technology that enables teams to stay connected and helps organizations build reliable plans. These are plans that reflect the risk of the project and ensure that every stakeholder’s voice is accounted for — even when those stakeholders are working from different locations. 

Projects are the lifeblood of the organizations we work with, so don’t let an increasing numbers of remote workers be the reason your project plan fails. 

Join us for Part 1 of a three-part livestream series, Plan, Don’t Panic, during which we address the challenges of building reliable plans in a remote work environment and how InEight continues to innovate in support our changing world. 

TRANSCRIPT

 

Paul Self :

Hey, Dano. It’s good to see your face again.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

It is good to see yours. It has been a while crocodile, since I saw you in person.

Paul Self :

I know we’ve been spending a lot of time doing this type of a conversation. And it’s been too long since we’ve gotten the chance to be in the same room together. And today, we’re having a little bit of fun with this. We’re kind of inviting everyone into our own home offices, which is, which could be dangerous. But I think we’re going to have some, some fun with it. I did notice you, you got a new picture hanging in your office now.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

That’s funny. So, that is actually called a harmonogram. So it’s actually a hand drawn schematic. I think it was drawn in like 1795-ish. It’s actually kind of cool.

Paul Self :

So about the time frame you started doing project management.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

A couple of years earlier. But, yeah. So no, what it is, it’s a two dimensional chart, and what it shows is on the horizontal axis, believe it or not, it’s a timescale of 4,000 years of 2000 years BC, 2000 years AD. And then on the vertical, it actually shows different geographical locations around the world. And then it’s probably too hard to see in the video here, but the rectangles, the blocks in the chart itself represent different empires. And so what it shows is over time, the, I guess the dominance with regards to geography for different empires.

Paul Self :

In breadth and depth.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

Exactly, breadth and depth. So sitting at home for the last three weeks, I’ve been kind of sporadically taking a look at it. And so I actually did a bit of research on it and what I thought was quite relevant and useful in current times was the fact that to date in that 4,000 year time span, none of those dominant empires have actually been wiped out from a pandemic. So, that gave me, that gave me a little bit of hope.

Paul Self :

I was going to say, you’re saying, there’s still hope there.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

There is. Now, talking of offices, you have a much fancier office than me, but it looks like my friend, you are stashing toilet paper.

Paul Self :

That happens to be a roll of paper towels. We’re not hoarding, but should the shortage continue, it could be fit for purpose, I guess. So.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

Well, you know my theory about the whole “2 pi r” thing, and one of the ways to increase the life of a toilet roll is to, if you have the half the diameter, half the roll size, you’ll actually more than triple the, the life.

Paul Self :

So, steal everyone’s toilet paper and just give them a partial role and it’ll last longer.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

Exactly, exactly. So, all right, well with that, let’s get back on track. So, we wanted to get together today and talk through some of the challenges. And I think some of the solutions, I think we are we’re going to see being very viable going forward in kind of this new world, right?

Dr. Dan Patterson:

And again, I think, we’re on week three now of working from home. And I think one of the things that’s been really interesting all is, honestly, prior to this, I’d never heard of, for example, the application called Zoom. We’d been using GoToMeeting and WebEx on and so forth. And one of the things I’ve been reading about and realized about Zoom is, unlike some of those other virtual meetings spaces, Zoom by design is, it actually enables people to concurrently talk and collaborate and have concurrent video. Whereas things like GoToMeeting and WebEx were always designed to promote the presenters. I think it’s a, it’s kind of a really interesting example of even in this very short term period of change that there are tools that are very quickly pivoting to satisfy today’s need.

Paul Self :

Right. So it’s like everybody, they’re doing their best to make it feel like everyone is in a room together.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

Yeah.

Paul Self :

And I’m going to use a term that, you always hate it when I use it, but it reminds me of, it’s a piece of purpose-built technology, right? It’s designed for a specific reason, and it’s designed to support a specific set of requirements.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

I’ve already tuned out.

Paul Self :

I know, I know. So, but in that vein, kind of taking us back to the world of project management, right? We do need tools that facilitate that type of remote collaboration, especially in the world of our projects, because our projects are still going on, they haven’t stopped. So we’ve talked to quite a few commercial businesses and there’s been some cautious pauses, I think on projects that they’re undertaking. And obviously in spaces like the old gas chemical space, it’s slowing relatively significantly, relatively rapidly, but I think we’ve been on some bright spots as well. I mean, you’ve had some conversations that were kind of the anti that.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

Yeah, absolutely. A couple of days ago I was chatting with an exec from one of the major U.S. contracting organizations. And he was saying, look, in the infrastructure space, it’s pretty much business as usual. Yes. There’s been a slowdown in kind of the commercial sector, things like vertical build. And again, I kind of got thinking, I was like, yeah, but, it’s analogist to essential versus non-essential travel for us families at home, right? The essential infrastructure projects are continuing and absolutely will continue to execute even under today’s conditions.

Paul Self :

We’ve got offices kind of all over the place that at InEight, and we hear from our partners in Australia quite often, that the same is true for them there. There’s such a heavy influence of infrastructure related projects there, those continue to go on. And we still need the support of our project teams and we still need technology that’s designed to allow us to collaborate around our projects.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

It’s funny, you mentioned technology. So, you and I have been building project management software tools for a couple of decades now.

Paul Self :

Yeah.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

And I think we’ve always been excited about the fact that we’ve said, “oh, they’re disruptive”, right? We take a disruptive technology and we throw it into the environment. I think with the whole COVID-19 thing, this is actually the first time, certainly in my lifetime where, it’s circumstance that is actually being the disruptor and the driver of change, rather than technology. And I think what we’re going to see in the coming weeks and months is again, for the first time, technology is going to have to pivot, to accommodate and support a rapidly changing environment.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

So I think it’s, there’s a lot of interesting things going on right now. And there’s a lot more focus around obviously risk and risk mitigation. And again, we’ve been living in the risk world within the realms of CAPEX projects for again, close to 20 years. And we’ve been evangelizing and pushing the concept of, okay, well, let’s look at an investment or a project investment through the lens of kind of a risk adjusted lens. And I think we’ve made good strides. I still think though that it’s somewhat the exception rather than the norm. And unfortunately, the norm to date, certainly in the project space has been, not to look at that investment, from a risk adjusted perspective. And instead look at it from really just your best case scenario.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

Right. And, I’ve got up on my soap box so many times now and said, look, a best case scenario, you’ve got 0% chance of hitting it. Why do we keep marching towards best case? We need to start looking at things from most likely. And why are you laughing?

Paul Self :

It’s just, we’ve had this conversation so many times with so many people and I think the world is changing, right? And you’ve said it in the past as well, is that risk tended to be for specialists and academics. And I do think the world is shifting to where risk is important to everyone and every project, right?

Dr. Dan Patterson:

It is. And honestly, we were going down this path anyhow, but I think recent events that they’re going to act as an accelerator or a catalyst, the concept of risk adjusted forecasting, it’s going to be the norm. Gone are the days where, if you really want to do, say a schedule or a cost risk analysis, then we’ll do it as an afterthought, after building our call stand or schedule forecast. I believe the concept of embedding uncertainty and risk events, whether those risk events are good or bad in the form of threats or opportunities, incorporating those upfront so that we get a most likely scenario rather than the best case scenario. It’s absolutely going to be the norm. And I think the other thing as well, and honestly, I think with hindsight, we’ve probably been somewhat remiss here when we’ve built those, for example, those schedule risk models, we’ve tended to exclude those catastrophic what we call, black swan, events. Right? And I think now we’re realizing that actually we do need to take those into account.

Paul Self :

At minimum. It should be a scenario we can, we consider. Right?

Dr. Dan Patterson:

Yep. Yep. And then I think probably for me, most excitingly, again, historically projects have been measured, I would suggest really in two primary dimensions, right? How long is the project going to take and how much is it going to cost?

Paul Self :

Right.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

Pretty simple stuff. I think, thankfully now, people are actually going to not just consider, they’re going to demand a third dimension in the form of confidence. Now I’ve said it to you before, but I would rather have a high degree of confidence that my project is going to take perhaps longer than I’d like, rather than being told, “oh yeah, we can easily finish within a certain timescale”, but have no backup or no confidence behind it. So again, as with everything in life, with bad comes good. And I think this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to pivot very quickly and patch some of the shortcomings that have been present in the project management space

Paul Self :

And that’s really what we’re talking about today, right? It was kind of a two faceted conversation. One is the importance of risk management and risk process as it relates to projects in the new world, and how technology can be leveraged to better enable that process. And so we’ve, as you said, we’ve always believed that risk is critically important to certainly the management of your projects, but the development of those plans as well. So much so that we’ve spent years and years doing risk workshops, third party risk workshops, and helping other people understand the risk profile of their projects. And that process traditionally has been extremely analog, right? It’s been very, very linear in nature. We’ve taken project teams and sequestered them in a room for two to four days and peppered them with questions. All the while, when we get to the conclusion of those two to four days, we don’t hand them anything. We go back and we crunch the numbers and we run our analysis. And a week later, we come back with a handful of answers. And that’s been, it’s been a little bit anti-climactic for the participants in this old world.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

It has. So we drag them through the pain of doing the risk workshop. And like you said, then they don’t get to see the benefit of their inputs for at least probably a week later, by then, they and their project has moved on anyhow. So again, I think even pre COVID, we were moving from, or moving away from kind of this, you call it, I think, a linear or sequential approach to building a risk adjusted forecast. And we’re moving more of a, certainly a digital, but more of a in parallel type approach. The fact that today, you relate it to that first step pool, right? Where, okay, you critique the schedule. So in layman’s terms, let’s make sure the logic’s good, no artificial constraints on and so forth, right?

Dr. Dan Patterson:

Well, the fact that today that’s actually now possible as you’re building the schedule, rather than having to take the schedule and throw it into a third party schedule critique tool, is a huge advancement. I think probably even more beneficial, the fact that now when building a CPM schedule, again, you don’t start from scratch, you can leverage historical projects, and with the advent of, what we’d like to call, augmented intelligence. You can literally now build a very rich tapestry that represents your schedule, your capex project, through plugging in these subnets and tying them together, I think is a huge step forward.

Paul Self :

That’s a massive, so it is a step forward, but it’s also an interesting play on the introduction of risk management much earlier in the project life cycle at the point in time that we’re developing the plan. If I can be confident that my plan is based upon how I’ve historically executed my projects, I automatically will walk into my project for something better.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

Yep. So the concept of, it’s funny, you and I have, we’ve always tried to put ourselves out of a job, right? Cause we’ve always believed in the workshopping process, but we’ve also said, okay, well, if we could somehow avoid the time and the effort and the expense of those workshops and still get to the answer, that would be a good thing. And so I would say certainly, in the last four weeks, we’ve done, what, 10 …

Paul Self :

10, almost 12 or 10 to 12, yeah.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

… remote virtual risks workshops. And the outcome has been not only sufficient, it’s actually been better than the old analog approach. And so, digitizing that in-person get together workshop and enabling that through virtual collaboration, I think, it’s a no brainer. It’s the way the world is going to go. And again, I think, the fact, sorry, go ahead.

Paul Self :

No, no, no. Go, go.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

And the fact that, the team don’t have to wait a week to see the results now because the analysis, the impact of their inputs comes through during that virtual schedule review is a huge, huge deal.

Paul Self :

It is. It is. And I think we’re also, we’re removing a whole bunch of bias in the process. When we did this, the old way, right? The teams would come in, having never reviewed the plan or looked at the schedule and they’d come in, not believing in it, just because they’ve never even seen it. And speaking of the old way.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

So, actually I dragged this up this morning. Well because talking of the old way, I cannot believe that it wasn’t that long ago where you used to introduce our risks workshops and present the participants with this, what we called a cheat sheet. And you try and explain the importance of distributions and how they were so important to the risk model. And we wanted them to represent or categorize durations and costs through whether you’ve got beta PERT and enhanced and triangular, and Trigen. This made me chuckle.

Paul Self :

So it’s, so really what we’re saying is we were part of the problem.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

Well you were part of the problem.

Paul Self :

Yeah. Thanks. Thanks. But it did, it lended itself to people thinking that risk analysis was reserved the experts, right? It was reserved for those with a PhD and a doctor in front of their name. 

Paul Self :

But it was, it [crosstalk 00:16:30].

Dr. Dan Patterson:

What are you saying?

Paul Self :

Nothing, nothing at all, but it made it difficult to touch and it, made it less relevant to the teams as well, because they didn’t care about this. The workshopping approach did not necessarily benefit significantly from us discussing distribution models.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

I agree 100%. And I think it took us a while to get that right? Because the mathematical modeling of risks does require representation of uncertainty and risk events through these distributions. But as you said, the team members, they really don’t care about this stuff. So, you harped on about this a lot, several years ago. And I think as a result of that, we came up with this concept of, what did we used to call them? Sliders, right? Like a little appetizer hamburger thing, I guess, but the sliders was cool, right?

Dr. Dan Patterson:

Because what it meant was team members, instead of modeling those distributions, we said to them, look, you have five choices, just represent or categorize the work in terms of, can you achieve it or not as is it a very conservative estimate? Is it a very aggressive estimate? And everything in between. And I think that was great because it took away the statistical complexity. And again, without getting into the details of the top-down hierarchical approach. It also allowed us to properly decorate the entire schedule. And sometimes projects would have what, 10, 15, 20,000 activities in the schedule. So, it overcame the challenge of properly risk loading, all of those line items.

Paul Self :

So it definitely made it easier. It definitely 100% made it easier, but you were still kind of left with, if you did this in the room with a group of individuals, you still had the risk of group think. If you did it in the room, even worse with the owner and the contractor in the same room, you constantly had the owner suggesting to the contractor that they were being a little too aggressive and they could do it in less time. So it created a situation where you only had one voice, right?

Dr. Dan Patterson:

Yeah. And often that voice was the, either the loudest voice, or honestly it boiled down to the most senior or the highest paid voice. How many times did we nearly get walked out of a risk workshop because we had to step in and tell the project manager, wait, like, let the team contribute. It’s the field executioners, it’s the design leads, the engineers, it’s the people that are actually building or designing and building this stuff. They’re the people in the know, their voice has to be, has to be heard. And again, that’s been a real challenge over the years.

Paul Self :

I agree. And I think we’ve, we’ve taken a, kind of a leap forward and simplification of the process and allowing teams to contribute, individuals to contribute without necessarily the risk of being influenced by other members on the team as well.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

And again, in some ways I think it’s analogist to the Zoom concept, right? Because in Zoom, multiple contributors can either talk at the same time, they can collaborate, and that’s the approach that we’re now taking with capturing all of those inputs. And again, what, in the last week or so Paul, we’ve done three risk workshops in completely different geographical locations using this virtual environment where, as a contributor or a team member, I can, first of all, in my own time, I can review the schedule, right? I mean, [crosstalk 00:20:16] half the time …

Paul Self :

From your home office, right? From anywhere, right?

Dr. Dan Patterson:

Yep.

Paul Self :

I can do it from my home office and I can do it on my own time.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

Exactly. And I can review the schedule before, the subsequent get together, I can give my input without feeling undo pressure that I need to just conform to the other contributors in the room. The fact now that, as you’re, we call it marking up, reviewing the schedule, the computer will actually give you suggestions, for example, on risks that have occurred on previous analogist scopes of work. Right? I can see here, you were looking up early site work and it looks like according to the scorecard on the right, you have serious concern, you’re asking for more time. And you’re articulating the fact that you’re very concerned about not being able to get site access, and that may give you, or may expose you to more delay.

Paul Self :

It’s like going through a digital interview process. And there’s no way in the last three weeks or so that we could have supported the volume of workshops that we have, without being able to capture this type of input without having to be in the room or facilitate interview sessions as well.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

Yeah. I mean, it’s not just the volume, Paul, it’s the fact we’re not allowed to travel.

Paul Self :

It’s both.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

It is both. So I think the other kind of mini leap here, is previously when a contributor in a, what we call an analog risk workshop, would stick up their hand and say, okay, I think we need 50% more time, and I’m concerned about site access delays. It’s almost like they were giving it in this void. They got no feedback from the schedule or the model as to, well, what’s the true impact on, on that happening. Whereas here, the little bars there and the ghosting activities, that’s actually showing you, okay, if indeed you don’t get your site access delays, here’s the impact on the downstream activities. So it’s like this feedback loop, again, I think for the first time now, instead of the contributor just giving their input, the computer’s actually acting as a virtual facilitator and giving responses back.

Paul Self :

Yeah. It’s immediate gratification for the work that I put in. So that’s what I’m looking for. Yeah.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

So again, I think one of the challenges with historical schedule development, whether you’re doing risk analysis or not has been, so the team members give their input, but then you have to go off and build the CPM schedule, the risk model, so on and so forth. And with the advent of this sort of digital approach, this virtual environment approach, one of the really cool things now is that you get to see the impact and the results of everybody’s contribution in real time. And not only that, the example on the screen here, Paul, it’s a little bit small, but in the top left, what this is telling me is that we are looking at the schedule through the lens of 75% certainty. In other words, this is the answer. This is the completion date we can achieve at a 75% certainty or indeed beat that forecast.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

Well, again, that’s such a leap forward because before we’d have to go off and build the model, run the analysis, come back, and someone would say, well, that’s great, what’s the 50% model look like? Then we’d start it off again and build the thing, come back. Right? It was good for the consulting dollars, but it wasn’t very helpful for the project, right? So now in real time, you get to see all of this through that risk adjusted lens and kind of on the other side of the fence and the other side of the screen, you get to see the individual contributions. So in the example where the schedule said eight days polled, that was your 12 days with your site access delay risk. A couple of other contributors giving differing opinions, and that’s okay, because those differing opinions then form that ridiculous mathematical distribution that you were talking about five minutes ago.

Paul Self :

So we never have to worry about what a log normal distribution is, and if I would use that over a beta PERT right?

Dr. Dan Patterson:

Exactly because the computer figures out the distribution from the human inputs. The human inputs give their expertise, the computer figures out the result of distribution. So it’s cool stuff. I don’t know why we didn’t come up with this 10 years ago.

Paul Self :

I know. I know. And so we’re talking about all of this in the concept of a kind of a digital workshop. But collaboration is still key. We’re not suggesting that you shouldn’t be collaborating with your teammates, but I do think, and this is back to my purpose built technology, right? I do think utilizing tools like this as a backdrop for that conversation, even when those conversations are happening remotely, the facilitation is so much easier.

Paul Self :

And as you said, largely because I can see everyone’s opinion, I can run multiple scenarios in real time immediately and see the impact of it. And I can let the computer do the hard work, right? And I get to act as a reasonable human and interpret the information that it’s telling me.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

Yep. One really interesting kind of observation that came about from the workshop earlier this week. So the team members gave that their contributions, and again, we use this interactive schedule review interface to facilitate that, but on top of that, the computer actually came back with, okay, that’s great. But historically it took 40% longer than the team members are suggesting. And so we were actually able to use that historical as built performance information to go back and challenge the team. And the team for that was amazing. And not only that then, and again, I know we’re talking about this, I think next week, the whole concept of machine learning and AI, but the team members input themselves also then was a feedback loop back to the computer. So it’s really turning the interaction between humans and computers on their head. I think it’s very, very, very, very powerful stuff.

Paul Self :

Yep.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

So then we get to the results, right? And again, I think, one of the biggest eye-openers in the last three weeks for me has been, rather than us having to go and build a model and put together a fancy PowerPoint. The contributors themselves get to see the risk exposure, the risk drivers themselves, without having to wait on us as the facilitator, they can see the impact of their inputs.

Paul Self :

Yeah. And we look at traditional reporting as well. So, we can look at the risk histograms and I can understand what my exposure is. I can look at my tornadoes and understand why I’ve been exposed in certain ways or why I’ve been exposed to the level that I have been and given the risk of events and uncertainty that I’ve identified. But what’s new, I think in the last, it’s a little bit newer, not so much the last three weeks, but probably for the last, probably two months since the beginning of this year, we’re thinking about, not only those traditional models and metrics, but how am I impacted? And if you’re a contractor organization out there, thinking about bid buyability and taking into consideration the risk profile of your project and considering things like margin erosion, and am I taking on a potentially unprofitable project at a 75% confidence level? It’s changing the way people are making project decisions because they understand how they’re impacted.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

So I think you’ve being a bit humble. So, in the last six months, you’ve built this practice, not so much around helping projects, but actually you do help projects don’t get me wrong, but helping projects before they become projects right?

Dr. Dan Patterson:

In the form of a bid support and bid analysis. So, prior to, kind of this new risk adjusted bidding philosophy, projects or bids would say, okay, we’re going to add 10% contingency on top of the base cost, and then we’re going to add another 15% margin on top of that, irrespective of what the true risk exposure was. Well, we’ve turned that on its head, because now by doing the risk analysis during the bidding phase, we’re able to see, like you said, not only the contingency needed within a given confidence level, but I think most importantly, you can now forecast the probability and the confidence of that contingency, getting eroded to the point where you start to get margin erosion. Margin Erosion is essentially diminishing profit.

Paul Self :

Yep.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

And not to be too doom and gloom, but that’s going to be a big deal in the forthcoming months. We are all going to need to be more competitive and have much more insight into the sensitivity around profitability.

Paul Self :

Yep. And how risk impacts that. Yep, absolutely.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

Yep. And again, to your point earlier, if we can figure that out early on, then we can mitigate, build that mitigation into the plan. And again, it all goes back to this kind of proactive approach to risk rather than reactive.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

So, what do you think? None of us know [crosstalk 00:29:46]

Paul Self :

What we’ve learned in this last little bit.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

Well, what if we learned today in this period of uncertainty and unknown, right? I mean, we’re in kind of week three, none of us really know how long it’s going to continue. But I can tell you one thing, even in three weeks, I think just by getting on the phone and chatting with you and doing these virtual risk workshops. I think, we’re already seeing huge amount of value and proof that this virtual approach absolutely works.

Paul Self :

And honestly, I’ve seen probably more and better collaboration, at least in the majority of the ones we’ve done in the last three weeks. As a result of taking a slightly different approach to capturing the inputs from the team.

Paul Self :

I just, people are adopting a process in a much different way than we’ve seen when we had to sit down across the table from them and force them through a day’s long worth of questions and assessment of their project.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

Yep.

Paul Self :

I think that’s one piece of it, collaboration has been huge. The other piece is, I think it’s very clear at this point that the concept of risk and risk adjusting and risk forecasting is going to be far more important, as we move into the rest of this year, then maybe it has been at any point in time in history. So …

Dr. Dan Patterson:

Yep. So I think, tactically and I guess somewhat selfishly, we haven’t had to travel, right? So that’s great. I think again, somewhat tactically, but from the viewpoint of the owner or the contractor, the time spent capturing the inputs, it’s about a third of what it was using the analog in-person approach.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

So that’s a huge time saving. And again, just simple things like the contributors, they get to review the cost estimate and the plan before they do the rankings, rather than just coming in cold. And the fact that even though it’s remote and it’s virtual, this concept of this interactive schedule review environment, where you are all collaborating, you can see the multiple inputs and see the impact on your risk exposure. We’ve never had that before. And so that’s huge. And then, this third dimension, as I keep calling it, this confidence dimension, I truly believe cost, schedule, confidence, I think confidence is going to be the leading indicator on projects going forward.

Paul Self :

I 100% agree. And I think we’re already seeing that to the point where organizations are not adopting projects, unless they meet a specific confidence level. So much so that some of the organizations are expecting 75% certainty or greater before there they’ll even embark upon the project.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

Thank goodness we’ve been preaching that for years. Who in their right mind would invest in any form of capital investment with a 50/50 shot of losing money versus winning money? That’s ridiculous.

Paul Self :

Yep.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

And so, honestly, I think that seventy, we call it a P75. I think that 75% certainty, I think it’s on the low side, I would start to encourage more of a PATP 85.

Paul Self :

And I think it’s bubbling up within the organization as well. Right? We traditionally said this with a specialist, academic type of exercise and approach, but executive teams are reviewing their projects now in the context of the risk exposure that they bring to their portfolio. So, that’s a shift. And I think if we take it a step further, and we think about owner organizations and their evaluation of who they’re going to partner with on projects, there’s an expectation that you’ve got a handle around risk and that you’ve got a process and methodology for not only identifying the risk, but managing that risk to the execution of your project. And that’s, to me, that’s a huge shift.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

Can you imagine the new world where contractors aren’t allowed to play with owners unless they submit a risk adjusted forecast? That’s going to help the contractor, that’s going to help the owner.

Paul Self :

Yep. Very cool stuff. So …

Dr. Dan Patterson:

Well, we’ve almost made it through today’s session without dogs barking or kids running in. This one’s gone a bit too smoothly so far. So, we’ll see how next week goes. But, we very lightly touched on the topic of artificial or augmented intelligence. Next week, I think what we’re going to do, Paul is, again, in the last 18 months, we’ve made some really amazing strides with leveraging computing power and getting the computers to make intelligent inferences. So let’s dive into that in a little bit more depth. And then, the flip side to kind of the technology and the computer stuff is for a long time, I know you’ve always challenged me on, okay so, mathematically we look at uncertainty and we use the sliders, and then we do a second run and look at discreet risk events.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

And you’ve challenged me in terms of isn’t that a bit, sort of a binary and a bit academic? And again, team members sometimes struggle with the difference between, well, what’s a discreet risk event versus this is just an aggressive element of work. And so I think, and I’m going to let you spill the beans to everyone on the very exciting initiative that we have going on with linking and merging those two forms of risk exposure to get that, because I really think we’re onto something very, very special.

Paul Self :

And again, to simplify the process for the user and to capture some better inputs to the modeling process. It’s [crosstalk 00:36:00].

Dr. Dan Patterson:

Which means then the outputs are going to be more accurate, right? And then again, in order for all of this stuff to work, things like the real-time insight and the real-time reporting, we’ve actually had to, not turn on its head, but we’ve had to modify a concept like multi-caller simulation. To the point now, where, and we used to say, we would never use the word random at a rate in a risk session.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

Right? But I mean, every caller is based on random number selection. And we’ve overcome that. So now with a modified approach, there is no randomness in the forecasting and the modeling. It is truly categorically based on human expertise, human input. So, that’s right now, that’s our plan. 

Paul Self :

So that’s April 9th at the same time, and it’ll be exciting to get a chance to share that with everyone.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

Yep. And I think in the meantime, I think we’re okay to say enough of this, but we were chatting this morning. Right? And we said, wouldn’t it be great if we have, everyone’s working from home and like you said, projects are still ongoing. We are more than willing to accept project submissions, so contact us. We’ve got this email address we’ve set up, riskmyproject@InEight.com.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

Paul and I will personally reach out to you with the objective then of showing you how to run this virtual risk workshopping process. And yeah, that’s what we’d like to offer to all of you. I say, all of you, I have no idea whether anyone even dialed into this or not. 

Paul Self :

So if anyone did, feel free to send them to riskmyproject@InEight.com and we will jump right on those. And Dan, this was fun. I enjoyed doing this. I’m looking forward to the next week.

Dr. Dan Patterson:

It was excellent. So what are you going to do for the rest of the day?

Paul Self :

I’m going to see what this recording turned out like. So we can find out how we can do the next one even better than this one. So …

Dr. Dan Patterson:

Well, let’s hope we had some attendees. So, assuming we did thank you all very much for joining, and we will see you all, like Paul said, same time next week.

Paul Self :

Thanks everyone.