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462 risk identification and characterization

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Unformatted text preview: ycle, the probability distribution can be estimated for each design from reliability theory and empirical data. Examples of the second kind of uncertainty occur in trying to predict whether a Shuttle accident will make resupply of Alpha impossible for a period of time greater than x months, or whether life on Mars exists. Modem subjectivist (also known as Bayesian) probability theory holds that the probability of an event is the degree of belief that a person has that it will occur, given his/her state of information. As that information improves (e.g., through the acquisition of data or experience), the subjectivist's estimate of a probability should converge to that estimated as if the probability distribution were known. In the examples of the previous paragraph, the only difference is the probability estimator's perceived state of information. Consequently, subjectivists find the distinction between the two kinds of uncertainty of little or no practical significance. The implication of the subjectivist's view for risk management is that, even with little or no data, the system engineer's subjective probability estimates form a valid basis for risk decision making. 4.6.2 Risk Identification and Characterization Techniques A variety of techniques are available for risk identification and characterization. The thoroughness with which this step is accomplished is an important determinant of the risk management program's success. Expert Interviews. When properly conducted, expert interviews can be a major source of insight and information on the project's risks in the expert's area of knowledge One key to a successful interview is in identifying an ex pert who is close enough to a risk issue to understand it thoroughly, and at the same time, able (and willing) to step back and take an objective view of the probabilities and consequences. A second key to success is advanced preparation on the part of the interviewer. This means having a list of risk issues to be covered in the interview, developing a working knowledge of these issues as they apply to the p...
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