Down the PCI Rabbit Hole in Search of Better Risk Measurements

Decision-making is often a product of risk assessment and prioritization.  Currently, I have several deliverables pending for work, a carpentry project at home and this article to write.  As I decide which to address, I quickly, and in many cases, unconsciously, analyze what I am placing at risk but not completing one or more of these initiatives or by focusing on them in one order over another.  Conditions being equal – right now I am flying over the Southwest at 37,000 feet so the carpentry project is not even accessible, but all the others are.  So why am I writing this article rather than, say, finishing my analysis of the 150-page data dictionary I could be doing instead?  The article is due today, but the only cost of not doing it is a ding to my reputation with my editor – and possibly the nagging guilt that will dog my thoughts while trying to focus elsewhere over the weekend.  The analysis, while important to my job, without which I would not be even writing this article, will wait until Monday.

My decision-making might seem suspect until more data points are revealed.  The analysis is mostly done, though a few relatively mindless hours of formatting remain.  I have a block of time available Monday to do that work.  No one will even look at the analysis until Tuesday, if then.  Finally, the project had received almost no attention for the last two years by an overworked colleague who actually holds a much smaller stake in it than I do – so the very fact that progress is being made is more than anyone would have expected a few weeks ago.  Knowing these additional decision points or influences helps clarify why I decided to write this article first.  Yet, my decision is driven by very personal motives and considerations and my risk assessment could come undone if, for example, an emergency Monday constrains my currently available time.

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