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(Answered) Risk Management


It should be no longer than 4-6 double-spaced pages using a font no smaller than Calibri or Times New Roman 11. Do not simply submit bulleted answers to the above questions or just summarize the case. Rather, use your answers to the questions to guide your analysis and drill deeply into the case. Structure your paper as you would any narrative business report: say what you are going to say (in an introductory paragraph that identifies the problem, puts it into context, and unequivocally states your recommendation); say it (describe how you came to this conclusion); and then say what you said (the summary paragraph is the last opportunity to make your point). You will find that creating a simple outline of what you are going to say before you begin writing will help enormously. It will keep your narrative from wandering off track or in circles. The following questions should help launch your analysis of this case. Use your answers to them as a jumping off point for your thought processes. Your analysis should incorporate your answers to these questions. 1. Risk appetite and risk tolerance are two risk management terms, often bandied about but poorly defined. I recently came across the following definitions that I like. Risk appetite is the total amount of risk a business is prepared to tolerate in its business, a reflection of the business’ capacity to absorb risk, e.g., the amount you can lose at casinos over an entire year. Risk tolerance drills down one level into a company’s operations to reflect the risk of a particular business unit, e.g., the amount you are willing to lose during one day at a casino. Given these definitions, what is JPL’s risk appetite for the MBE mission? How is it expressed? What are the risk tolerances for the components of the MBE mission? How are these expressed? Why is this important? 2. Risk management in general, and enterprise risk management in particular, seek to manage the risks that threaten a firm’s strategic objectives. What was the primary strategic objective of the MBE program? What were the risks to that objective? 3. Lee’s program also had several secondary objectives. Name a few and explain your choices. 4. In his 2013 book, Seeing What Others Don’t, psychologist Gary Klein defines “insight” as an unexpected shift in the story we tell ourselves about how the world works and how we can make it better. Insights represent revolutionary rather than evolutionary changes in our previous beliefs. When we experience an insight, one or more of the beliefs that anchored our understanding of a problem are radically modified or replaced altogether. Klein describes three paths to insight: contradiction, connection, and creative desperation. The path of interest to us when thinking about the role of the Risk Review Board and its use of intellectual confrontation is contradiction. In the contradiction path, one is forced to replace one assumption with another, and then build a new story on that new assumption. The Risk Review Board was the central element of Lee’s program that addressed the risks to both the primary and secondary objectives. Explain its function, e.g., how it worked and what it accomplished. 5. How did JPL balance the costs of risk with the costs of mitigating those risks? How has it fostered the flow of information through and across the project teams? (You’ll find Boeing’s process particularly useful in addressing these questions.) 6. Consider the role of JPL’s senior systems engineer, Gentry Lee. What challenges did he face when implementing the risk management process at JPL? What personal characteristics or attributes were critical for his success? Was he the right person for this role? If so, why? If not, why not? 7. What are the strengths and weaknesses of JPL’s risk management program? How could it be improved? 8. Should Gentry Lee recommend launch or delay for the MBE mission? What are the most important factors to consider in this decision?

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