Benefits and limitations

In general

The Successive Principle confers several crucial benefits upon management and the company as a whole. Its implementation has typically brought significant improvements in efficiency and competitiveness.

When you choose top-down risk/uncertainty analysis using the Successive Principle, you are joining a family of clients and consultants who have benefitted greatly from its use in a wide range of applications and industries. You become part of a narrative that has been unfolding since 1980 – a concept with a proven track record.

Top-down risk assessment enables you to focus on the strategic risks and uncertainties – those that could really damage your business. It gives a clearer and more realistic picture than many other approaches because it includes significant 'soft' factors as well as more tangible risks and uncertainties.

Specific benefits

  • Unprecedented realism in forecasts, plans and budgets
  • Information on the potential for improvement, in order of priority
  • Better decisions using more realistic information
  • Improved understanding of the nature and gravity of the risks, and of how best to mitigate them
  • Increased profits through identifying new potentials and reducing financial losses
  • Using and combining the experience synergy, knowledge and other capacities of key people
  • Improved communication, team working and consensus
  • Reduction of and control over project duration
  • Better quality of the final results
  • Successful combating of overruns and delays

Other benefits include

  • It's not a 'black box' – although fairly simple, the approach still generates realistic results, which can be turned into practical risk management activities
  • Analysis results are available on the day: no need to wait a week for them!
  • There is a high level of ‘buy-in’ by participants: less chance that the results will be ignored.
  • Improved overall view of the situation for management.
  • Clearer understanding of the major uncertainties and risks.

In short: more focused risk management as well as general management.
Read more about user experience


Using the Successive Principle is inevitably subject to certain limitations which can be crucial:

  • It can only be useful in organisations with a modern management attitude, and a policy of internal openness.
  • At the same time, the organisation must have the courage and genuine will to have the ‘naked truth’ of the matter brought out into the analysis group in respect of its schedules, budget proposals, financial analyses etc.
  • It must be possible to set up a sufficiently broad-based analysis group whose work can proceed with sufficient openness within the group.
  • Given the innovative character of the Successive Principle and the weight given to the quantitative evaluation process, a considerable and demanding “running-in” period is needed, with the full, unequivocal backing of senior management.
  • The analysis process must be steered by a facilitator who has a good grasp of group management, statistics and the use of this Successive Principle.

Steen Lichtenberg

Dr. Steen Lichtenberg

1930 - 2019 †
Benefits and limitations of the Successive Principle
The Successive Principle confers several crucial benefits upon management and the company as a whole. But it also holds limitations. Details below.