The Cone of Uncertainty

In project management, particularly in the management of long term projects or projects which take place in a fast moving industry, proper planning and exhaustive risk management is absolutely key to the eventual success of the endeavour.

There are numerous methodologies and prescribed approached to project management - so much so that a catalogue of such processes are now available to study, and use - each with varied pros and cons. One such piece of theory pervades many facets of business management as well as being a good model for managing any long term events with expected uncertainties. The "Cone of Uncertainty" acknowledges that comparative to the end of the project, much more will be known about the results (obviously) or product than at the beginning of the process. Acknowledging that there is a degree of uncertainty, and establishing what variables can be revealed and controlled is central to project management - this type of assessment is performed before any investment is even made.

The cone described by the model can be attributed to a shorthand way of referencing the way a graph plotting "uncertainty" would be highest at the start of a project and reach zero with the projects completion, taking the form of a cone.

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