Quality comes from Professional Responsibility

Testing is a double edge sword. Testing is done for two reasons: to catch any unintended consequence of changes and (for risk management) giving a fresh view to find anything that would be a reputation issue if it reached a customer. However, because testing is done there may be a tendency for a “I’ve got a safety net” mentality that can allow corners to be cut and process precision to be lost. Read more of this post

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Be Clear About Your Assumptions

Assumptions: we all make them.  Some times stated. Sometimes implicit. Occasionally, utterly unaware that we made an assumption. They are in all projects and can be found in all project planning decisions. If we don’t make assumptions we can’t plan – uncertainty will get in our way. Read more of this post

Welcome to 2012

Well it seems so odd to finally be in 2012!

I spend a lot of time in London and the pre-Olympic theme in many places has lulled me into a dream-like state of it already being 2012. Now it really is 2012. That got my attention: something has changed and yet nothing has changed.

Christmas was also a reminder of the truth behind “culture shock”. I hear change specialist worrying about culture shock for big changes in organisations or moving teams to new locations. However, the biggest shocks I see are when people arrive somewhere after being away. How many of us expected our parents to be the same with other children as they were with us or return “home” after a long trip  expecting to be treated to the same reception as we used to get only to find things have changed? We may have changed but so has own old home and the people in it. The behaviour is not what they expect it to be. That can grab our attention too.

That grabbing of attention makes me stand still for a moment to work out where I am,  what I expected and how to reset my expectations to deal with the reality.  That is fine if I have that time to spare.  If my project doesn’t have that time, I need to be better prepared.

In projects, you can prepare people and help them be ready for a change but if that change doesn’t meet their expectation then there will be a shock. Managing stakeholder expectations of the changes your project plans to make needs to include two-way communication to discover what they think it will be like and correct any misunderstandings. It is an area of change that, with a little more understanding of the people concerned, can show lasting results.  A little research will uncover assumptions and associated risks.

My new year wish for project managers is that your people are healthy in terms of change, your projects are wealthy or at least appropriately resourced, and you grow wise in terms of risk management.

Happy New Year

The risk of success

Risk management in projects is often seen as the work done to avoid something going wrong: risk management methods, review plans and products for failure, identification and documentation of the risk, the analysis of costs and impact, contingency plans in place for when things go wrong.

Are you looking for the risk of success?
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The PMO role in risk management

The links between project risk management and the organisation’s risk management mean that some project risks could be dealt with at organisation level more easily.  It is in both the project manager’s interests and the boards to get these processes to join up effectively.  A good PMO (Project Management Office) who really understand risk management and organisational context can help by spotting themes to talk to corporate risk managers about. Read more of this post

What is risk management?

Risk management identifies possible events that may have an impact on a project and provides a framework process to manage those.

There are a number of methods and approaches to risk management. While there are differences in terms ways of reporting and management approaches, the processes for what happens in a project are similar in practice they tend to follow these steps: Read more of this post

Risk Management – beyond the project

The UK Combined Code for corporate governance  says “the board’s role is to provide entrepreneurial leadership of the company within a framework of prudent and effective controls which enables risk to be assessed and managed.” (A.1) Read more of this post

Sarbanes Oxley Act and Risk Management

Sarbanes Oxley Act (SOX in the USA) gets blamed for all sorts of controls inflicted upon project. It has also been used by many business software providers as an excuse to sell their wares.  However, the cost of this additional requirement on an organisation must have some return on investment. Read more of this post

risk management and scope creep

How do you define your scope? Is it the domain (area of a market or knowledge area) you are working in or the products and outcomes you must deliver? The second option is the safest to protect against scope creep. However, to monitor or change the project’s vulnerability to risk, remembering the first option helps awareness of the context for risk identification. Read more of this post

Building a relationship or giving a bribe?

The laws on bribery in the USA have been quite strong for around 10 years and have changed the way large global companies have viewed corporate gifts and “facilitation” fees. One company I worked with went as far as mandating that their strict anti-corruption policy on this would be posted in the main reception of all their buildings – something they did not do for any other policy. Read more of this post