In the summer of 1979, a young Soviet physicist decided to embark on an all-or-nothing project to obtain his freedom. Alexander Jourjine’s inspiring journey features eight lessons that can benefit all project leaders who face great risks, difficult decisions, and seemingly impossible obstacles.
Making a single person responsible for managing risk on a project is a major risk in itself. The fact is, wherever there are project objectives there are risks that might affect them. And the best person to identify and manage a particular risk is the one who owns the objective that could be affected.
Managing uncertainty is one of the most important challenges facing project managers, but many have no consistent process for dealing with risks, large or small. One helpful step is to take a page from Agile practices and pay more attention to the size of team tasks and the quality of our conversations about them.
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.
Many risk management guides describe a mitigation strategy that allocates funding and schedule margin for when a risk “comes true.” A better approach is to “buy down” the risk before it turns into an issue. Here is an example based on the U.S. Department of Defense’s approach.
When unforeseen problems occur on a project, the rush to resolve them often ignores their underlying causes, and the same issues reoccur, sometimes worse. Project leaders should include root cause analysis in their corrective actions, but there are challenges to consider. Here is guidance, including a 10-step problem-solving model.
Managing risk at the portfolio level requires a balanced approach and the exercise of judgement, both when we create the portfolio and as we execute the projects within it. Here are some fundamental steps and key principles.
If and when the NBA owners and locked-out players come to agreement and begin the 2011 season, a rescue project of sorts will begin. And players, managers and support personnel will face the same challenges most project leaders face when getting a late start or falling behind.
A subset of knowledge management, technical succession planning is a process that identifies an organization’s critically important information, who possesses it, and how to pass it on to others if they leave. Here is a seven-step model for implementing a technical succession planning program, and suggestions for overcoming some inevitable barriers.
There are five immutable principles of project management that must be addressed by project leaders and teams in order to succeed. In this new series, we begin with an overview of these principles before exploring in detail how you can put them to work in a variety of business and technical domains.