by: Jack Jones
Many times when I’ve been in a debate with someone about qualitative vs. quantitative superiority, something like the following dialog takes place:
Me: When you use the term “Medium Risk”, what do you mean?
Them: Well, the event is only moderately likely and/or would only have moderate effect.
Me: When you say “moderately likely”, what does that mean?
Them: It could happen, but not too often, or it isn’t certain.
Me: By “not too often”, do you mean a couple of times a year? Every other year? Something like that?
Them: Yeah, maybe something like that.
Me: Aren’t those quantitative values?
It gets even more fun when we start talking about impact.
The bottom line is that I have yet to run into someone who isn’t thinking quantitatively even when they’re applying qualitative terms. They just don’t realize (or admit) it.