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Topic Teasers Vol. 59: Plugging People Risks

by Barbee Davis, MA, PHR, PMP, PMI-ACP

Question: We recently had a data breach in my department that caused a serious problem with our public image, not to mention financial losses. Obviously, we want to be sure we are carefully protected going forward. This appears to me to be an IT issue, but I have been asked for my input about additional safeguards. What can I do at the project manager level to help insure that this sort of event is squarely in our past?
A. Do not allow employees to work on mobile devices or in a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) scenario. The only reason most people want to work on their own technological equipment is so that they can take company resources and access codes with them when they leave.
B. Outsource your data to a third-party contractor. As part of the contract, make sure that they will take responsibility and pay reparations should a future infiltration happen. Transferring risk is one of the four suggested strategies for dealing with negative risk.
C. Set up an internal audit of employees and their usage of organizational systems, especially in times of personal stress. Insider risk is an often overlooked factor in data breaches.
D. Sweep the organization for anyone in the breached department who was involved in the creation of the software that was hacked. Fire them as a warning to anyone else who might write code that is vulnerable to outside attack.
Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

Topic Teasers Vol. 58: Sneaky Risks

by Barbee Davis, MA, PHR, PMP, PMI-ACP

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!

Preparing for Difficult Situations

by Kenneth Darter, PMP

While it may seem like all of project management is dealing with issues, risks and problems with the team, if you can learn to deal with the problems in the correct manner, then every now and then you might just have one of those days where everything goes right.

Juggling Projects

by Kenneth Darter, PMP

Dealing with one project can be quite enough, but what happens when you are juggling two or more projects? It's not easy, and those times should be approached very carefully so that no balls get dropped and projects don't end up being left out in the cold.

The Importance of Identifying Risks

by Kenneth Darter, PMP

Managing risks on a project is part of best practices, but how do you get started identifying risks? There are many avenues--and the project manager should explore as many as possible and realistic.

Teachable Moments: Ready for Disaster

by Sean Carroll, PMP, SPHR, SHRM-SCP; Scott Calhoun, P.E., PMP; Sean P. Hannigan, P.E.; Garrett Meyer; Jason Smith

The flawless maritime response to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings validated the campaign to change the status quo and prepare for the unthinkable through benchmarking, validation, consensus, training and implementation.

Project Failures = Reputation Risk

by Kevin Coleman

Not all projects are successful. Some just fail to make the grade while others go down in a firestorm of controversy. Those are the ones that are increasing causing damage to the reputations all of those involved. Here's some help to address this growing challenge.

Risk Management for Program Managers

by Bruce Harpham

Program management is a relatively young discipline within the project management profession. That means there are fewer tools and techniques to address the challenges of program risk. At the same time, the larger responsibilities of program managers mean greater disruption from risk events. Consider the following findings about the state of program management…

Method in the Mayhem: Managing Megaprojects (Part 1)

by Ian Whittingham, PMP

What is it that makes a megaproject more than just an ordinary one on steroids? Certainly the challenges that megaprojects create make exceptional demands on project management expertise. But what are those challenges? And in what ways does expertise respond to those exceptional demands? A close look at a couple of examples--one ancient and one modern--might help us understand how megaprojects have responded to those questions.

Capturing Risks Accurately

by Kenneth Darter, PMP

In order to keep a project on track and on schedule, the project manager must make sure risks are managed effectively--and that begins by capturing them accurately. The following reminders help give you a framework for capturing risks.

Crunch-Time Casualties

by Andy Jordan

Some projects go off the rails, and getting them back means going far beyond the job description. How do you manage that? When it comes to crisis management, do your approaches scream of desperation?

The Back-up Plan

by Kenneth Darter, PMP

Backing up can mean many different things, especially in project management. None of them are easy, however. Here are three different kinds of “backups” that you need to keep in mind during a project...make sure that you know the best practices and the best processes to ensure success.

Freaky Project Management (Part 2)

by Ian Whittingham, PMP

What do the Titanic and Van Halen have in common? They're going to help illustrate how being freaky can make you a better project manager. In the concluding installment of this series, our expert looks at four more problem-solving principles from a popular book.

Getting Over Change

by Kenneth Darter, PMP

The only constant in life is change--it comes to everybody whether they like it or not. The best way to handle it? Get over the hump and keep moving forward. Keep these tips in mind...

Outlining Resource Needs

by Kenneth Darter, PMP

One of the first questions when starting a new project is: What resources do you need? Outlining these needs to executive management is paramount in securing project success, so keep these four tips in mind.

The Consultant vs. In-House PM

by Michael Wood

What's the difference? From time to time, organizations find themselves in a dilemma trying to decide whether they should use an in-house PM or PM consultant to manage important projects. Being aware of the tradeoffs and making conscious decisions on each is the best way to minimize unintended consequences.

Risk Management: Quit Harping and Start Affecting

by Kenneth Darter, PMP

Oftentimes, project managers are talking about risks and it seems that no one is listening. Learn to use the risk management process to affect the project in a positive way using these four guidelines.

Tips to Impress the Risk Executive

by Joe Wynne

Your ability to properly anticipate risk executives’ needs and involve them into the management of your projects will set you apart from those who do not have this ability. These tips covering justification, communication, vendor selection and more will help you build this important skill.

Finding the Time to Collect Lessons Learned

by Kenneth Darter, PMP

Lessons learned can be a valuable resource to future projects. Collecting them should be a priority for the project team even when they cannot see the immediate benefit of it. Keep these four tips in mind to help the process run smoothly.

Topic Teasers Vol. 31: Change Rests On You!

by Barbee Davis, MA, PHR, PMP, PMI-ACP

Question: We have a massive internal change coming, and lucky me…I get to head the project! We have tried this before and had to pull back because of negative employee reactions. I know that this time we need some change management processes, too, but who is responsible to do that part of the project?
A. The good news is, it’s you. You need to take the responsibility and coordinate the change processes in with your usual team activities.
B. The good news is, it’s not you. Focus on the project and on meeting your metrics of time, cost and quality as usual. Corporate management is responsible to make sure employees accept and use these new changes.
C. The PMO is “where the buck stops” when endeavors move from simple projects to create products or software and billow out to vague objectives like “employee acceptance” and “corporate compliance”..
D. Ask your manager. Your project charter is limited to producing the usual product or services and your team is not skilled or experienced in change management processes. Your manager can deal with getting the changes accepted and getting them to stick.
Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

Tracking Risks from Start to Finish

by Kenneth Darter, PMP

Risk management can be a tricky business--but following a good process can help you track the risks from start to finish. Keep these five steps in mind.

Saving a Slipping Schedule

by Kenneth Darter, PMP

When a schedule starts to slip, the project manager should be ready to jump in and get things back on track. Here are some strategies the PM can use that do not involve forcing everyone to work 80-hour work weeks.

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