Project Risk Management

Episode 375: Project Assumptions (Free)

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Beth Spriggs
Beth Spriggs and Cornelius Fichtner

This interview about assumptions in project management with Beth Spriggs was recorded at the 2016 PMI® Global Congress in San Diego, California. We discuss her paper and presentation The Risky Business of Assumptions - Uncovering the Truth, as We Assume It to Be. Here is the abstract:

We all hold assumptions, then make decisions and take actions based on those assumptions without verifying their validity. Worse is when other people hold assumptions about our work and we don’t know it. This can impact user adoption, timeline, scope, quality, and overall project success. Not to mention personal frustration, stress, and desires to pull out one’s own hair.

Unchecked assumptions can be very dangerous in the workplace. We should be mindful of some common assumptions and actively work to uncover assumptions. Doing so will bolster project work and open up new paths for identifying risks.

Some project assumption examples that Beth introduces us to are assuming a project or task is easier or faster than it actually is, assuming priorities are aligned and haven't changed, and assuming who owns, or is responsible for, what.

Very importantly the paper and discussion also include a section about uncovering assumptions. Here, Beth offers us 5 ideas on how to develop and expand our project assumptions list.

PDU Tip

This interview is 23 minutes long. This means that you can "legally" only claim 0.25 PDUs for listening to it. However... if you first listen to the interview and then also read the white paper on which it is based, then you can go ahead and claim 0.50 PMP PDUs!

Click to download the white paper

Episode 372: Stakeholder Analysis Reduces Project Risk (Free)

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David Hillson
Dr. David Hillson and Cornelius Fichtner

This interview with Dr. David Hillson was recorded at the 2016 PMI® Global Congress in San Diego, California. We discuss his paper and presentation My Stakeholders are my biggest risk -- help!. Here are two passages from the paper:

Abstract:

Stakeholders can pose a real risk to our projects—at least some of them can—and project managers and their teams need to be aware of this and take steps to control risks to their project that arise from risky stakeholders. As with all risks, stakeholders present both positive as well as negative risks, and we need robust ways of identifying which stakeholders offer opportunities, and where potential threats might lie.

This paper presents a structured way of identifying risky stakeholders based on a best-practice stakeholder analysis model (The Stakeholder Cube). It explains how risky stakeholders might influence a project based on their power, interest, and attitude. Finally, the paper shows how applied emotional literacy can be proactively used to influence risky stakeholders in order to optimize the outcome for the project.

Conclusion:

A risk is any uncertainty that could affect achievement of project objectives. Some of the biggest risks in projects arise from stakeholders, and project managers and their teams need to be aware of these risks and manage them proactively. As with all risks, there are both positive and negative stakeholders, and it is important to identify which stakeholders offer opportunities, and where potential threats might lie—and then act appropriately.

David is retiring and this was his last active participation at a PMI Global Congress in North America. He plans on continuing to attending the EMEA congresses and he has offered to be available for interviews over Skype in the future.

PDU Tip

This interview is 26 minutes long. This means that you can "legally" only claim 0.25 PDUs for listening to it. However... if you first listen to the interview and then also read the white paper on which it is based, then you can go ahead and claim 0.50 PMP PDUs!

Click to download the white paper

Episode 357: Managing Murphy (Free)

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This episode is sponsored by the PMP Exam Simulator:
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Jim Young
Dr Jim Young, PMP, FNZIM

Today, I don’t have a full interview for you. I have something better. I have a free book on Project Risk Management for you:

The free risk management eBook you are going to get is “Managing Murphy -- Essentials of project risk management”. It’s written by Dr Jim Young, PMP, FNZIM (http://www.skillpower.co.nz/) and it is intended to be applicable regardless of your preferred methodology and framework – so you can use the concepts presented no matter if you follow PMBOK®, PRINCE2 or Agile approaches.

Click to view and download the PDF eBook now...

If you use a podcast app to download and listen to our interviews, then the book has very likely already been downloaded by the app for you. It is a PDF document and you should see it as a separate episode of your subscription of The PM Podcast. If not, then please click on the download button above.

PDU Tip

You can claim 1 PDU in the "Technical Project Management" category for each hour that you spend reading this book. Please study the PMI CCRS Handbook and search for "reading" in the document to see how to claim your PDUs in detail.

Episode 346: Weight Loss For Risky Projects (Free)

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This episode is sponsored by The Agile PrepCast. PDU for PMP®:
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David Hillson
Cornelius Fichtner and Dr. David Hillson
(We're pointing at Disneyworld on the map)

This interview with Dr. David Hillson was recorded at the 2015 PMI® Global Congress in Orlando, Florida. We discuss his paper and presentation "Weight Loss For Risky Projects". Here is the paper's definition of Risk Obesity:

“Risk obesity” occurs when there is too much risk in the system, resulting from uncontrolled risk appetite (Hillson, 2014). This can affect the business as a whole if strategic risk-taking decisions by the senior management team lead to risk exposure that is greater than the organization can manage. But risk obesity can also occur at the project level, when a particular project is carrying levels of risk that are too high, posing a significant threat to the project’s success.

Each of the characteristics of physical obesity has parallels in risk obesity, where we accumulate excessive risk exposure that threatens the ongoing health of our project, and that may ultimately be terminal. Risk obesity also makes other risk ailments more likely, as high levels of risk exposure challenge the ability of our risk management processes to cope.

The main cause of risk obesity is an uncontrolled or inappropriate risk appetite (Hillson and Murray-Webster, 2012), leading us to take on too much risk without the ability to digest it and deal with it effectively. It is also possible in some cases that there is a built-in tendency to risk obesity arising from the “organizational DNA,” with a corporate ethos and culture that lead to excessive risk-taking.

The good news for projects suffering from risk obesity is that it is both treatable and preventable. This paper provides clear diagnostic symptoms to determine whether a project is risk obese, as well as proven treatment options.

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