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Can Risk be a Good Thing?

Can Risk be a Good Thing?

“If we implement a risk management program, then we might gain greater predictability, defensibility, and maintainability on our projects, but do we use the decision analysis definition of risk or the PMI’s?”

Concepts about risk and even the word risk are a source of considerable confusion even among those who specialize in the topic. There are a lot of well-entrenched and mutually exclusive ideas about risk and risk management and if we are going to make any progress in Integrated PM, we must work out these differences.

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Create and Leverage Templates

Create and Leverage Templates

“If project managers co-develop standard practices and templates, then practice adoption and baseline performance would be higher, but with so many varying opinions, a ‘We’ culture is required.”

Gary stares at his computer monitor, bewildered, as he scrolls through a large folder of project template files, “Just ask the top project managers to share their templates”, he mockingly mumbles to himself. With project performance varying greatly across the different project management teams, Gary, as part of the Governance team, has been tasked with establishing a standard set of project templates to improve project performance across his business unit. Just like a fancy dessert, without a recipe or set of repeatable steps, consistent results aren’t guaranteed.

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Enable Value Realization

Enable Value Realization

“If a project enables value realization, then the business will experience a higher return on its investment, but the worth of the project outcome and the cost to produce it needs to be calculated and measured before and after the project is finished.”

What exactly do we mean by “value realization”? And if we should help it come to be, what is “value” then?

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Engagement Project Management

Engagement Project Management

"If we utilize account based sales, then we need to include sales and marketing into our engagement projects, but this means we need to look at our projects as holistic systems if we expect to maximize project performance."

With project management now viewed as a strategic competency, it is natural for companies that wish to compete in a global marketplace to be strong believers in engagement project management or engagement selling. Either way this is just another discipline of Integrated PM. As you scope out your Integrated PM system, this may or may not be a needed discipline.

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Establish Project Scope

Establish Project Scope

“If you establish proper project scope, then your project planning and execution is much more effective, but you must spend time with your customers ahead of planning to define and agree on what’s in and what’s out.”

If your day job is building houses, you can call me “Captain Obvious” after hearing what I am about to say. What goes into a house and what doesn’t is an ongoing source of negotiation, compromise, and often controversy. So, builders are well aware of the importance of knowing what their housing projects include and don’t include; it’s the “air” that they breathe.

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Project Management: Anticipate the Problems

Project Management: Anticipate the Problems

“If I am a project manager, then I am a superhero, I have aligned the project and team towards a singular goal, but it takes lots of practicing, planning, and monitoring to get really good at project management.”

What is a project manager? How can I explain it to a child and why in the world would I need to? These are the questions that should be explained before diving into any grandiose statement about what should or should not be done in project management. These are valid questions, because for all but the fortunate few, most do not even encounter a project manager until faced with a major corporate project or problem.

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Project Planning: Know What it Will Take

Project Planning: Know What it Will Take

“If I do project planning successfully, then I’ll have a focused project objectives and a clear project plan with correct approximations of the necessary features, time, and resources, but I am not sure how to anticipate the project needs.”

You’re probably still a little confused on what I mean by “project planning.” I’ll tell you that is normal, it is not building or helping to build anything, that’s project management, which comes after you’ve sufficiently planned. In project planning, you determine the benefits, time, function, money, and resources needed to complete the job. Have you ever seen a half-built house that never got finished? There is a good chance that they did not accurately estimate cost, time, and effort necessary to build the whole home.

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Project Planning: Setting a Solution Vision

Project Planning: Setting a Solution Vision

“If I determine the solution vision, then I can develop a collaborative project environment that adapts and changes, but I am not sure what it means to have an effective or efficient project team.”

When you see the term “solution vision,” you might think I am talking about nothing more than an idea to solve a problem, but it is more than offering a solution or highlighting the value of something. A solution vision describes the target audience of the solution, what will be satisfied by the solution, what the key benefits will be, as well as differentiating it from alternatives at the same time. In a project, this is embodied in the project plan, but to reach it, you’ll need a coordinated team that efficiently collaborates. How, pray tell, do you do that? Well let’s find out.

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Projects for a Change

Projects for a Change

“If we look for change requests in our activities, then we’re more likely to accomplish the change, but not all requests need to be projects!”

The origin of every project begins with a desire for change. This is even true in a research project that is all about information gathering. The initial state of this type of project is ignorance about some concept, the desired state is the acquired new information.

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Requirement Tracing

Requirement Tracing


“If we conduct requirements tracing, then we can conduct change impact analysis, but we will need to maintain a Traceability Matrix.”

Where did that requirement come from, is that requirement satisfied, and how is that requirement being satisfied are three different questions that the PM needs to have an answer for. In the past, many methods have been used, but all approaches have similarities as well.

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Risk Management in Integrated PM

Risk Management in Integrated PM

"If we implement Integrated PM, then we can expect improved project performance, but we’ll need to address risk management."

Risk management is about making decisions that contribute to the achievement of an organization’s objectives by applying it at the individual activity level, within functional areas and across the organization. It should assist with everyday decision making. It should be a systematic approach to setting the best course of action under uncertainty by identifying, assessing, understanding, acting on and communicating risk issues.

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The Project’s Goal

The Project’s Goal

"If we look at all our client requests as potential projects, then we can have one reporting feedback mechanism for all request processing, but we will have to recognize this change and address it as part of the Integrated PM System.”

Goals are the starting point of effective time management. They act as a compass, pointing the way to the things on which you should be concentrating your time. If you identify your goals, you can figure out what is most important for you to accomplish on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Goals guide time management by helping you assign priorities to the many activities that beg to be done.

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What is a Project in Integrated PM?

What is a Project in Integrated PM?

“If I have a solid definition of what a project is, then the triaging of new project requests can better be governed and dependable, but people always want to game the process, work it too their advantage, and in all fairness, sometimes the boundaries are a little fuzzy between a portfolio, program, project, task, and deliverable.”

This is another example of why PMs prefer Systems Thinking when exposed to it- New Project Triaging can be made systematic and less political. In Integrated PM a Project Portfolio is a system with a dominate growth feedback loop. In other words, the principle function of a portfolio is continuous growth.

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What is Project Risk?

What is Project Risk?

“If I perform risk management for a project, we might be more successful, but I’m not sure what risk really is.”

The original meaning of risk is associated with gambling- to risk is to gamble. When we take risks, there is a chance of gaining and perhaps an equal chance of losing. Project risk has evolved to mean more.

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What types of problems can risk assessment be applied to?

What types of problems can risk assessment be applied to?

“If I use risk management practices then I might be able to determine a range of possibilities, but I'm not sure of the type of problems risk assessment can be applied?”

Risk management may not be everything you think. Here are some examples of how project estimates other than traditional 'Risk’ logs are used in project planning and project portfolio management.

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Why Your Project Needs a Foreign Policy

Why Your Project Needs a Foreign Policy

Several forces are complicating the environment for cross business-unit projects. Increasing organizational flexibility, a decline in leadership intervention, and an increase in the use of enterprise tools are just a few.

Increasing Organizational Flexibility

There was a time in the not so far past that a business unit had a singular vision. For an example, when working with a video production unit, you knew exactly what the collaboration focus would be about; Video Production. But today, in an environment of information and project specialists, who exist in a matrix organizational structure, it’s not necessarily true.

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Guest admin
The font got out of hand here.
Thursday, 08 June 2017 17:21
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