No one has a crystal ball but we can all think up worst-case scenarios. A good project manager will think these through. You can't ask for a budget to cover all eventualities, but you can have some idea of how you will react if catastrophe strikes. Risk analysis is an excellent tool, but don't just disregard the low-probability risks. How concerned you should be depends, of course, on the criticality of your project. Clearly the development of a pan-European air traffic control system needs a backup plan that facilitates immediate recovery following the complete destruction of its primary site. Similarly, in these days of widespread terrorism, the project manager for a new stock exchange computer system can probably get a budget for several real-time, geographically disparate, reserve locations. Compared to these, a project to develop a new type of toothpaste may appear less critical, but if the future of the company and the livelihoods of its 6,000 employees depend on it, and the development laboratory is flooded, your thoughts on how to keep the project running become critical to a lot of people. And if the world suddenly needs new anti-terrorist toothpaste, it may become very critical indeed. Criticality is a very subjective science when mortgage repayments are concerned.
Don't worry about low-probability risks but still have a few thoughts on how you will react if they become reality. Unlikely events are only unlikely; they are not impossible.
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