There has been much discussion, and a number of books and articles have been written, about “complex” projects over the past few years. There has also been some controversy around the knowledge and skills needed to manage these projects (e.g. is the scope of the PMBOK® Guide sufficient to address such complexities?). In the next few pages, we’ll look at complex projects by 1) describing how various authors/groups define what they are, and 2) examining what this all means for us as project managers in our day-to-day work environments.
Do you have a Risk Management Plan (RMP)? If you do not, then this article is not for you. If you are managing a project of any size and you have not developed a Risk Management Plan, then your project is most likely already in trouble.
If your answer is yes, then you may want to continue reading this article. Many people talk about and also attempt to develop a Risk Management Plan but either give up or place the effort low priority on the to do list. Others have a risk plan that does not actually provide the guidance and value that is needed to be effective. Because the maker of the RMP did not give it the attention that it deserves, it is usually thrown together without any real in-depth research, just to say that it was done. It is like the son that was told to clean his room. When his mother checked it, the room was cleaned, but she later discovered that everything was piled high in the closet, out of site and out of mind.
Making Assumptions is Risky Business You Know What They Say when you Assume ... By Harry Rever, PMP - Director of Six Sigma, IIL
The incredibly annoying “know it all” coworker; the boss who thinks he is right because, well, he’s the boss; or the self-important “technical expert”; what do they all have in common besides being boorish, irritating and maybe even a little condescending? They assume. They assume they know the answer or what might be causing the problem. More importantly, they make assumptions about things, such as how metrics impact one another, without verifying those assumptions are actually true. Data? Who needs data? Not me! I know what I’m doing. Well, those types of assumptions are risky; very risky as they lead to decisions and activity which might actually make things worse. A simple quality tool, the scatter plot, can help validate if well known assumptions are actually true. You know what they say when you assume, “you make an ass out of you and me.” Let’s simply avoid that problem by verifying assumptions with data. Avoid what I like to call “assumption risk.”
Recently, during a discussion about risk management, the concern raised was that managing risk added cost to the project and was therefore unacceptable to the executive decision makers. My response was very straightforward. I asked if the individual remembered the statement often mentioned by service providers when discussing maintenance plans which is something like "You can pay me now or you can pay me later." This simple statement provides the very foundation for developing a risk management strategy. It will cost you less to prepare for risk and prevent or mitigate occurrences than it will to correct a situation once it has occurred. Managing risk involves preventive action, proactive thinking, a positive mindset, and clearly visible managerial support.
Effective Project Leadership - Enhancing Project Team Competency and Effectiveness By Frank P. Saladis, PMP
From my perspective, the project manager is placed in a leadership position. The size and complexity of the project is not the issue. People can provide leadership value regardless of project size or actual position in an organizational hierarchy. The key element here is whether or not an individual is creating value or as John C. Maxwell states,” creating authentic leadership.” Authentic leadership is about creating value within an organization. It means making things happen, motivating people to succeed, making a difference even if you are not leading a team.
Black Belt Chronicle: It's Pretty Risky to Implement Changes without First Verifying or Validating those Changes Work By Harry Rever - Director of Six Sigma
A project manager, Maria, runs into resistance trying to get her project recommendations implemented. An internal Six Sigma Black Belt, Will, tries to offer some advice.
Maria: Thanks for meeting with me about my project Mr. Briscoe. As the Vice President of Operations, I thought you could help me more effectively deal with your Directors. They just have not been very supportive of my efforts.
Mr. Briscoe: I think I know what this is about Maria. My Directors are not willing to implement your project recommendations, is that correct?
Managing the Stakeholder - the Negative Kind as well as the Supportive Kind - Part 3 By George Bridges, PMP
I have outlined a series of articles to discuss the topic of stakeholder management in a project environment. As we stated in Part 1 of this series; Stakeholder Management can be described by using the following diagram (Figure 1), developed by Dr. Harold Kerzner, Senior Executive Director with International Institute for Learning, Inc:
Is becoming a certified Six Sigma Black Belt something you should consider? Well, that depends, of course, on what kind of person you are and what you want to do with your career. The SSBB certainly isn’t for everyone. For most people, the PMP and/or the Six Sigma Green Belt certification are all they will ever want or need. As a matter of fact, I’d say having both PMP and SSGB certifications is an almost perfect situation for the vast majority of people. However, for those of you that are truly interested in taking process improvement to the next level, as well as influencing how decisions are made within a company, there isn’t anything better than becoming a Black Belt. Why is that? Well, it’s pretty simple really. Black Belts are highly trained in the art of improving results using lean concepts and advanced statistical analysis techniques. They have the added responsibility of influencing day-to-day business decisions. Black Belts are project managers, mentors, coaches, trainers, team leaders and, if utilized effectively, should be put in influential leadership positions reporting directly to the highest levels in an organization.
Example of Capturing Lessons Learned for a Course Development Program By George Bridges, PMP and Angyne Shock-Smith, PMP
The PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct describes the expectations and behaviors that apply to all PMI members, non-members who hold or who are seeking a PMI credential, or non-members who serve PMI in a volunteer capacity.
Professional and social responsibility covers such aspects of the profession as legal, ethical, and professional behavior.
There is a quote from Martin Luther King that I consistently use in my leadership programs – “The time is always right to do what is right.”
What coaching and instructing in the area of leadership has taught me is the importance of character to convincing people to commit to either your vision or you as a leader. The trouble is that most of us gloss over the word “character” when we hear it because while it is intellectually understood, we really can’t describe it or explain it. The purpose of this article is help you better understand both the word and its significance especially for Professional and Social Responsibility.