A detachable burden easily shifted to the shoulders of God, Fate, Fortune, Luck or one’s neighbor. In the days of astrology it was customary to unload it upon a star.
Good Project Managers don’t trust to Luck
As project managers we can’t leave the assignment of project roles and responsibilities to God, fate, fortune or luck – it’s our task to see that they’re assigned to the project team. Personally, I’d first observed Responsibility Assignment Matrices (RAMs) being used in French practice, so I was recently rather surprised to have a French architect tell me he doesn’t use RAMs in Poland, where we both live.
I have left orders to be awakened at any time in case of national emergency, even if I’m in a cabinet meeting. – Ronald Reagan (1911 – 2004). There can be few readers who have not experienced lengthy, time wasting and unproductive meetings (and, like Ronald Reagan, may have nodded off during them). If you’re a meeting chairman you can improve results (and endear yourself to participants) by taking four simple steps to ensuring that your meetings are productive: prepare; inform; facilitate and control; and, summarise and record.
Risk is inherent in all our projects (and, in fact all we do). Risks are often considered in an informal way by the project manager when planning and devising project strategies, but a more disciplined approach to risk management minimises threats and maximises opportunities. This article sets out 5 steps for effective project risk management and provides a risk register template.
As George S Patton (1885 – 1945) said:
Take calculated risks. That is quite different from being rash.
Previous posts on Project Management Insight have looked at project ‘failures’ and learning from mistakes. This post considers the use of performance measurement to establish where projects and programmes lie on the continuum between failure and success and the application of metrics, targets and benchmarking to achieve continuous improvement in your organisation, department or business.
Performance measurement is increasingly in vogue, has application across all industries and processes, and can be applied to delivery of projects and programmes. Successful introduction of performance measurement helps organisations and teams to: evaluate their current and past performance; learn and improve; and, achieve their strategic objectives.
Recent research published in the Harvard Business Review Magazine asserts that ‘black swans’ – low probability high impact events – are sinking many projects, particularly in the IT sector. The research considered 1,471 large-scale IT projects and suggests that they are three times more likely to spin out of control than construction and other major projects. The lessons drawn from the research include the need for stress testing, breakdown of projects into smaller more manageable elements, contingency planning and use of best class forecasting techniques.