The Risk Facilitator

Risk facilitators play a critical role in the risk management process, leading discussions that identify, assess and develop responses. To be effective, facilitators not only understand risk principles and processes but also projects and people. And they are adept at three facilitation styles, knowing when each is most appropriate.

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Research Results: What IT Project Managers Think About Financial Investment Firms Pursuing Straight-Through Processing With Agile and Workflow Management Systems

Changes in the financial services sector have made achieving straight-through processing—a dedicated commitment to settle a securities transaction within 24 hours and minimize risk—a monumental effort. Can agile software development and workflow management systems have a positive impact on addressing straight-through processing?

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The Consolidation of Project Management Offices – A Retrospective

The Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) recently completed implementation of a major change—consolidation of multiple project management offices (PMOs) into a single PMO. The lessons learned revealed a number of considerations that apply to executing any major change, revealed advantages and disadvantages to having a single PMO and identified future risks for the newly consolidated PMO.

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Technology Impact on Communication Management: Q&A

In the webinar Technology Impact on Communication Management with Beth Spriggs, she talked about technology’s impact on communication management. She explored with attendees how communication behaviors and preferences have changed, and examined how these changes create both opportunity and risk in our projects. She also discussed ways this impacts our current project communication plans, explored ways to adjust our communications to be more effective and shared some practical communication tips. Here, she answers attendee questions.

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An Unidentified Project Risk

Collaboration among stakeholders who are not able to demonstrate project management standard practices prior to project launch leads to project-as-planned failures. The author outlines 16 unidentified project risk elements, each attributed to the aptitude or the attitude of project participants, along with recommended risk mitigations.

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Bandage Management

Too often, the organizational focus is on relieving symptoms, not necessarily solving the problem. The culture of these organizations is that as long as the user problems can be fixed, then the issue is “solved”. Not only is that inaccurate, it’s inefficient and risky. Quick fixes are not permanent solutions, so when bandage solutions and workarounds become the norm, it’s time to act.

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Risk At the Portfolio Level

The portfolio is the cornerstone of applied organizational risk management, but it is also where there is less day-to-day focus so risks can slip through the cracks. In response, we must identify risk owners at the portfolio level and connect project activities with business concerns such as idea-generation and benefits realization.

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Effective Stakeholder Management Using Core Teams

Stakeholder management is critical to the success or failure of a project. The core team process is an important tool for ensuring buy-in and fostering collaboration throughout the business. It is also a means for collecting ongoing input for the team, which will reduce your level of project risk. Most importantly, it will allow you to manage your stakeholders effectively by actively including them in the project life cycle.

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Developing A Risk Culture

The most important contributor to successful risk management isn’t processes or tools, which are important, but an organizational culture that is risk-aware and encourages people to take the right risks. This can be achieved by addressing cultural aspects up front or allowing it to emerge naturally by putting a supportive infrastructure in place first.

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The New PPM: Personal Project Management

Many of us are pretty accomplished project managers, at least while on the job. But how do we apply project management principles and disciplines to our personal lives? Personal projects come in all shapes and sizes, each accompanied with their own levels of complexity, risk, timelines, budgets and outcome expectations. Enter the world of Personal Project Management…the new PPM!

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Adopting Quality Management For Business Success

Many organizations are taking advantage of quality management methodologies to improve productivity, efficiency and customer satisfaction. These methodologies require employees to perform set tasks and adhere to structured processes involving changes to work habits that can sometimes be disruptive. Familiar, integrated IT tools can streamline tasks and reduce user resistance, enabling organizations to receive the maximum benefits from quality management techniques at a lower risk.

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Introduction of an IT Project Management Methodology in a Fast-Growing Company

This article explains the rationale behind the creation of an in-house, customized project management methodology, iMAP, at a rapidly growing pharmaceutical company. The authors also describe the priorities that were selected to start with its implementation: a solid project initiation, a clear project life cycle, a special attention to risk management, a first step in reporting standardization, and specific attention to the activities necessary for the transition to operations. They provide an overview of their approach to IT project governance and how a defined project management methodology is the key for its success.

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Building Risk Tolerance

Technical and programmatic disruptions in project plans don’t have to negatively impact cost, performance or schedule metrics. But traditional approaches to planning are not an adequate defense. In the third and final article in this risk management series, the author outlines the six steps for building a risk-tolerant schedule.

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Risk Connections

Partnerships are the key to successful risk management that goes beyond the project level. That means building processes that are consistent from project to program to portfolio. It also requires fostering open communication lines throughout the organization, from junior team members to senior executives.

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Topic Teasers Vol. 58: Sneaky Risks

Question: Working in IT, it seems that the normal risk management processes are really sort of a “phone it in” routine exercise. We don’t have to worry too much about the production line needing grease or the recycled sheet metal not arriving on schedule. Is there a better approach to risk for software-centric teams?

A. No. One size fits all. There is always equipment failure and the chance of malware, just to mention two common issues, so follow the same risk processes as all projects do to mitigate risk in your environment.

B. Yes. Make sure you have an open source set of source code analysis tools. Run them each time your developers make a change in the code to search out bugs and other vulnerabilities. That is sufficient to ensure you do not experience unfavorable risk events.

C. No. If you deviate from the risk management processes used by others producing more tangible products, you won’t be able to coordinate your risk data to give management meaningful projection data.

D. Yes. While you don’t have the typical risk issues, you have new and potentially more damaging ones that are seldom addressed in most IT environments. Use some business analysis tools to assess and deal with them.

Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

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Managing Risk: Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory

Risk management on projects has become a doom-and-gloom exercise in finding all of the bad things that might go wrong and coming up with plans of what to do about them. Project budgets inflate and schedules extend as mitigation and insurance strategies grow and contingency budgets balloon. We highlight the negatives to such an extent that we forget to focus on the positives. Time to turn that frown upside down…

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Africa: High Risk and High Reward

The business world has long eyed Africa, but many companies have also been put off by its poor infrastructure and massive poverty. Now backed by vast natural resources and a surging youth population, the continent is on the verge of living up to its great economic potential. Yet project management success in Africa requires conquering a host of obstacles including political upheaval, limited local talent, and personal safety issues. This article examines how investors looking for projects with strong value propositions will find tremendous opportunities in Africa.

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Effectively Handling Project Issues, Risks, and Actions

The effective handling of all project issues, risks, and actions by a project manager and/or project management office (PMO) is one of the more important daily responsibilities. Good performance in this regard is a critical PMO success factor. The author proposes some “best practices” for conducting review sessions to collect, record, and address these issues, risks, and actions.

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Take a Risk (Part 2)

Don’t let today’s risks become tomorrow’s problems, and don’t sit back and wait for events to happen. Take a proactive approach to managing uncertainty. In this article, you will learn how and why using this risk management approach can greatly increase the chances of delivering your project on time and on target.

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The Flaw of Averages in Project Management

The common practice of reducing an uncertainty to a single best guess eliminates a lot of information, which leads to the flaw of averages, a set of systematic errors that occur when a single number, usually an average, is substituted for a distribution. Interactive simulation provides intuitive risk dashboards that can be used to detect and manage hidden risks, even for those with no statistical training. This article is accompanied by an interactive simulation model in Excel.

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Minimizing the Bias of Subject Matter Experts Through Effective Project Management

Aggregate risk rating and putting in place expert pools are just two examples of how project managers can take steps to minimize the bias of expert opinion in making decisions for their projects (throughout the various phases) by making sure the overall project risk and estimates of work are reasonable for the tasks required. Using a simple risk formula (probability x impact) to validate your information can help you achieve this goal in a precise way.

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Risk of Losing High Performers Increases Post-Recession

(From PRWEB) — A new study shows, North American employees are twice as likely to head for the door as they were before the recession, according to the latest findings of global consulting firm BlessingWhite. An alarming 19% of high performers who scored low on job satisfaction indicate plans to leave. Another 48% are non-committal, saying they’ll “probably” stay. Christopher Rice, President and CEO of BlessingWhite, explains, “In attempts to survive the recession, organizations handed employees more work to complete with fewer resources. Now employees – especially the high performers – may be burnt out or under challenged, and they are seriously considering leaving at elevated rates.” Rice cautions that leaders should think about how to create growth opportunities and assign meaningful work to keep their top employees from walking out the door. “High performers, after months of heroics for their employers, are finally stepping back and asking, ‘What about me? What about my career?'” If management doesn’t present employees with the opportunity to pursue personal development or to engage in work that’s interesting or worthwhile, these individuals are going to take their knowledge and skills elsewhere.” Read more.

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Exhibiting 101: Risky Business

An expensive server rack commits suicide off a 4-foot-tall shipping dock. A forklift skewers a carton of exhibit graphics. Demo equipment gets stolen in transit. What do all three of these situations have in common? They have all happened to me. Thankfully, in every case I had planned ahead and placed insurance on my clients’ exhibit properties to cover their losses. As exhibit managers, insuring against losses that we might incur isn’t usually on the top of our to-do lists. Logistics, deadlines, and troubleshooting often take precedence over identifying, evaluating, and managing the financial risks of exhibiting. But trade show-related disasters are bound to happen. Author and risk-management expert Charles Robert Tremper says, “The first step in the risk-management process is to acknowledge the reality of risk. Denial is a common tactic that substitutes deliberate ignorance for thoughtful planning.” There are basically four types of coverage exhibitors can secure to mitigate common exhibiting risks. Read the entire article.

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Defining talent management

I’m reviewing Larry Israelite’s manuscript for his forthcoming book Talent Management: Best Practices and Strategies for Success from Six Leading Companies, and “at the risk of biting the hand that feeds” him says that he feels that ASTD’s definition of talent management is too complex: ASTD’s definition (as published in the “ASTD Talent Management Practices and Opportunities” research report): “A holistic approach to optimizing human capital, which enables an organization to drive short- and long-term results by building culture, engagement, capability, and capacity through integrated talent acquisition, development, and deployment processes that are aligned to business goals.” Larry’s definition: “The collection of things companies do that help employees do the best they can each and every day in support of their own and the company’s goals and objectives.” Now these are very different definitions. One has 38 words, the other has 29. One uses terms like “holistic approach,” “optimizing human capital,” and “integrated talent acquisition”; while the other talks about helping people “do the best they can.” They obviously have different audiences: The ASTD definition is geared toward specialized professionals who use specialized language, while Larry’s definition is geared toward anyone who works. And that last difference is part of Larry’s point: talent management is not the sole domain of human resources professionals, but really belongs to everyone. So what is talent management? Does it belong to everyone, or should it mainly concern human resources professionals? What other definitions are out there? When people talk about talent management, are they talking about the same things? It’s a hot topic these days, but why does it matter? Does it matter more or less now given the difficult state of the economy? Any thoughts?

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Chapter Leader Resource Session CARE Risk Assessment

Watch the Chapter Leader Resource Session Pilot for an overview of one of the commonly missed CARE elements, the Risk Management Assessment. An activity will be included to help you complete a risk assessment, and help you on your way to CARE completion. Members of the National Advisors for Chapters (NAC) and fellow chapter leaders will make up an interactive panel to answer questions.

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Knowledge Management in the Age of Information Overload

This article examines how contemporary organizations allow, store, and share knowledge according to several imperatives that are discussed in the detailed analysis. The key themes of this article are that unless KM teams separate the useful from the useless, the pertinent from the dated, and the real from the fake, organizations run the risk of drowning in the seas of information overload and the oceans of an abundance of knowledge.

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Uncertain Upsides

Risk management isn’t always about identifying the downside, though many project managers seem to focus exclusively on this side of the risk coin. The fact is, we can assess and prioritize opportunities using the same techniques that work for threats, including brainstorming, root-cause analysis and probability-impact matrices.

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Lessons From the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire (Part 1)

In this ancient guide to project management, we learn that profiting from the past is a critical part of both project planning and risk management. It can bring to light the full socio-economic implications of actions, which ties to the project management realm of professional ethics and responsibility. What better way to learn all of this than through history’s greatest empire? In this first installment, we look at the underlying Roman principles that fostered the empire’s growth.

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Lessons From the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire (Part 2)

In this ancient guide to project management, we learn that profiting from the past is a critical part of both project planning and risk management. It can bring to light the full socio-economic implications of actions, which ties to the project management realm of professional ethics and responsibility. What better way to learn all of this than through history’s greatest empire? In this second installment, we look at two crucial lessons derived from the empire’s sales tactic.

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