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Risk? What are you?

It is inspirational to hear words that rhyme where a line and a stanza impart a meaning using the song-like attributes of the articulated statements. The command of a poem makes one remember. It helped some University students recall difficult formulas in integral and differential calculus. It is real and it does work. I’ve used it a lot during my college years singing “The Integral of u” to the tune of “The Wonder of u.”

I have always wanted to write about risk-based management principles in a poetic form. The uncanny characteristic of a poem to send the intended message with amazing clarity catches our senses so that we suddenly become more receptive. We listen more and even unconsciously let down our guard. Our biases disappear to consider the intended message.

 Today, I am happy to share with you an original 18-stanza rhyme poem of (8-6-8-6 metric) I have been working on in the past three days mostly while standing on the Calgary train, going to work.

 Risk-based management is a serious approach and a philosophy that takes risk as major consideration while managing any endeavor throughout its life cycle. Risk-based management increases the probability of success in achieving organizational and individual objectives.

 Understanding risk and the concept of risk-based management is therefore of utmost importance to risk-based planning and scheduling. It simply means that risk should be the main contemplation by anyone while keeping an eye to achieving planning and scheduling objectives (Frago, R., 2015.Risk-based Management in the World of Threats and Opportunities: A Project Controls Perspective).

 Risk is a primary concern in pursuit of a goal. Risk is not only a factor or featured element of management. It is the main character at play. Risk-based management gives importance to objectives. Failing to mitigate the risk means failure to meet the objective/s.

 The pleasing element of a rhyming poem brings joy and knowledge to many, especially those with heightened senses and sensibilities.

 "Have you ever stopped doing what you were doing, sat down, and asked yourself, “What is the purpose of life? What is it that people do every day? What is it that matters most to a person regardless of demographic?”

There are various perspectives. However, it all comes down to one central element, and that is to manage risk. Yes, the purpose of life is managing risk. Even in our sleep, and in our dreams, we administer risks. In our beliefs, in our religion, in our pursuit to be a good person, we manage risks.

People have to manage daily the risk of sin, e.g. of temptation, of jealousy, gluttony, revenge, and greed. One needs to control his vice, his expenses, his career, and many others.

It is in front of all of us and in the very fabric of our daily lives. Risk management is the only thing we do for a living.

This intriguing concept drives the reason why we go to work every day. We all have one main, central purpose yet we all go about it almost unconsciously. We are still employed by companies we worked in to manage risk." 

"If there is no risk to manage, we become useless (Frago, R., 2015)."

Source: Risk-based Management in the World of Threats and Opportunities: A Project Controls 2-3.ISBN 978-0-9947608-0-7 (Canada)

In view of the aforementioned, you can refer to this as the risk-based manager’s poem. Better still, everyone’s poem. After all, all of us in reality are managing risks. We are all risk managers in this world!

Read on and enjoy the rhymes…


RISKS? What are you?


There will be risks in all you do,

In bed or on the road.

Opportunity or threat to you,

Control them if you could.


Recognizing them is a must,

Before one do a thing.

It is folly if you just trust,

No knowing what they’ll bring.


Of course we need a risk-based plan,

To help us make the move.

It help us track the work we've done,

And keep us in the groove.


Risk is a threat to objective,

It keeps you from your goals.

Opportunity when it brings you,

Successful endeavors.

 For risk in fact is double-faced, 

With smile and frown on each.

From where you stand, ‎do appreciate.

Which one to you is which?


Just take a look at lotto Jim,

He won that number game.

Travelled the world, boarded a plane,

It crashed, that was his end!


Opportunity comes with some threats,

We often do not see.

Don’t be in haste to celebrate,

What seems like victory!


But the reverse is also true,

Threats bring good fortune too!

Life touches us while on the go,

It might be luck you know.


Risk is always in the future,

Not present, not the past.

An event that still to occur,

Whether it's good or bad.


If one is sure of what's to happen,

We're sure it's not a risk.

When certainty at its highest,

We have a fact indeed.


If now the threat is in their midst,

It will turn to problem.

And if they fail to make the fix,

Issues will befall them.


Issue is a problem that won’t go.

A challenge that will stay,

It summons threats to form and brew,

Creating a disarray.


Now if the risk is something good,

Enhance, make it better.

We can improve from what it is,

Profits can be higher...


To manage risk, we have to plan.

A plan that's right and true.

On how this risk can be addressed,

Without us turning blue.


‎A person who observe this rule,

Not finger-crossed approach, 

Will reap the very best in store,

Actions beyond reproach.


The one who look at risk in part,

Must also see the whole.

There is no if, there is no but,

Essential to our goal.


Risk appetite dictates our move.

I'm sure you know it does.

It will affect business resolve,

To do it or to pass.


Man is the center of all risks.

He chooses what come’s next.

Without man, objective ceases.

No goal, no risk exists!


Do not forget one element,

In risky endeavors.

It is the fact that "time" governs,

Your plans, your schemes, and more!


Hey, risk and time are long lost friends,

Many don’t know they were.

Risk can’t stand if time is absent.

The tie is truly clear!


When time is long to do the work,

Success is in the bag.

But when duration is too short,

Failure is being flagged.


I don't know why, I have no clue,

When men do what they do.

They seek the goal and then pursue,

Ready or not, they go!


Remember this, deep in your heart.

That haste makes waste my dear.

The rule of thumb that sets apart.

A man who knows what’s real.


So it is here that I depart,

I bid you well and good.

Manage your risks with all your might,

And take them like you should.


Source: Frago, R. (2015).Plan to Schedule, Schedule to Plan\Draft Manuscript\Copyright 200-202\ISBN 978-0-9947608-2-1 (Canada)

Rufran C. Frago (10Dec2015) - Author

The paperback and Kindle edition of the book "Risk-based Management in the World of Threats and Opportunities: A Project Controls Perspective" is available in 

The book provides new/additional knowledge to project management practitioners (beginners to experts), risk management specialists, project controls people, estimators, cost managers, planners and schedulers, and for students of undergraduate courses in Risk Management.

The sectional contents offer practical and common sense approach to identifying/managing risks. It is a must have for company managers, directors, supervisors, aspiring industry professionals, and even those students fresh from high school. The material is especially design to start with the foundational principles of risk gradually bringing the reader to deeper topics using a conversational style with simple terminologies. Check it out!

Other articles authored by Rufran Frago:

  1. Risks Surrounding Canada’s TFW Part 1
  2. Risks as a Function of Time
  3. Project Schedule: P50, Anyone?
  4. Changing the Culture of Your Organization
  5. A Person Perceives Others Based on His Own Interest
  6. How Can Management Motivate and Empower?
  7. How Can Managers Increase Leadership Effectiveness
  8. Risks Surrounding Canada’s TFW Part 2
  9. Scaffolding Hours: What are they? Directs or Indirects? Part 2
  10. Oil Price, Recession: Causes, Issues and Risks





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