Commitment - a graphic novel about options and risk
"Were you reading a business book written as a graphic novel?" Yep. That would be Commitment: a Novel about Managing Project Risk by Olav Maassen, Chris Matts, and Chris Geary. It was an interesting take on project management with a focus on real options, a topic that I've been obliquely aware of.
The thing about the book was that although real options is a central topic, I didn't find it to be overwhelming. The authors wove in topics from a wide variety of sources: Theory of Constraints, the Kanban Method, uncertainty and variability, various decision-making approaches, etc. Given the general topic of project management, there were also some interesting elements in that arena as well.
Based on my new knowledge from this book, the general idea behind real options is that we have all sorts of options in our lives - options that we often think of as must-do's or commitments. But many of these things (tickets to a show) are merely options until we decide to actually use the option. The other general idea is that it is helpful to be explicit about when options are still options - we get flexibility by acknowledging something as an option, rather than assuming it is a commitment. I think there was something about holding on to options as long as possible to allow for the greatest flexibility. This makes sense with my current mindset: In projects, we acknowledge the queue of possible work, but we only commit to the work that we can do right now. The faster we can turnaround the current work, the more options we'll have on what to do next.
It's hard to write a long blog post about a book in graphic novel form. There is a lot said in the drawings that isn't spoken anywhere. And the book is interspersed with more expository materials to add detail where it would likely bog down the story.
As they suggest in the book, though, I am seeing more places where there are options, now that I understand a little more about the concept.
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