Tame, Messy and Wicked Risk Leadership



Book Title:  Tame, Messy and Wicked Risk Leadership
Author: David Hancock
Publisher: Gower Publishing Limited
List Price:  $56.95
Format: Paperback, 114 pages
Publication Date:   November 28, 2010; 1st edition
ISBN-10: ‎ 0566092425
ISBN-13: 978-0-566-09242-8
Reviewer:  Paul L. Lagattuta, MBA, PMP, CSSGB
Review Date:   June 20, 2023


The general attitude of most project and risk managers is that we can control the future.  David Hancock, the author, states it is the most unreasonable assumption of risk management in relation to project management and risk mitigation.  The author presents current and new ways of addressing risk with projects and complex systems that are realistic and practical.   He proposes practical strategies on how to manage different problems and how behavior complexity with dynamic interactions making risk mitigation problematic.

Overview of Book’s Structure



I. Risk and Risk Management


II. Problem Types and System Complexity

III. Problem Types and Behavioural Complexity


IV. Risk Therapy – The Talking Care?

V. Conclusion


David Hancock classifies problem types into Tame, Messy and Wicked Problems

He defines each category of Problems and strategies that work for each.  He explains events of Challenger Disaster and the Financial Crisis of 2008.

Highlights: What I liked!

Definitions of Problems

  1. Tame: straight forward, simple, and linear casual relationships; have a beginning and end.
  2. Messes: puzzles we tend to resolve their complexes rather than solve them.
  3. Wicked Problems: They present no definitive statement of the problem and no understanding of the problem until a solution has been developed. Complex issues based on deeply grained and fundamental beliefs, opinions and ideologies.  Resolution requires buy in, understanding and common good concept by its stakeholders.
  4. Wicked Messes: Occur at the boundaries of wicked problems where the solution(s) are heavily influenced by individual or group ideologies and socio-political views on subjects that are controversial.

The author spells out the different types of uncertainty and defines them.

He proposes tools and strategies dealing with different problems:


To read entire Book Review, click here

How to cite this work: Latutta, P.L. (2023). Tame, Messy and Wicked Risk Leadership, book review, PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue VII, July. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/pmwj131-Jul2023-Lagatutta-tame-messy-wiked-risk-leadership-book-review.pdf

About the Reviewer

Paul L. Lagattuta, PMP

Dallas, Texas, USA


 Paul L. Lagattuta, MBA, PMP, CSSGB currently works for Amazon Fulfillment, Dallas, Texas.  He aspires to be a project manager.  “Project Navigator is responsible for the project’s position at all times.”  Native of Baton Rouge, LA, earned his Bachelor of General Studies with a concentration in Business/Management from Louisiana State University.  Relocated to Dallas, Texas and earned his Masters of Business Administration with a major in Business Policy & Strategy with a minor in International Management from University of Texas at Dallas.  He earned his Six Sigma Green Belt Certification from Villanova University and a member of the American Society of Quality.   In September 2020, he was certified by Project Management Institute as a Project Management Professional and a member of Project Management Institute Dallas Chapter.  Paul has expertise in Root Cause Analysis, Employee Empowerment, Strategic Management, and Analytical Analysis.

Paul has worked for many Fortune 500 companies (Ford Motor Credit, The Bank of New York, United Parcel Service, and Amazon) as a team member that contributed to many projects that were very successful to the bottom line.   As the Project Manager responsible for the Deposit Withdrawal at Custodian Migration Project involved process re-engineering that produced 60% increase in revenues, attained 95%+ customer satisfaction, and attained 95%+ execution and accuracy of dollar amounts at The Bank of New York.  In less than a year, the team processed over $100 Billion of transactions resulting in earning a prodigious company Quality Award. Paul can be contacted at 767lagattutapl@gmail.com

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