I'm currently reading the projectmanagement.com August book club selection, Project Risk Management: A Practical Implementation Approach. Written by Mike Bissonette, this book focuses on what the author terms "holistic risk management" - or, in Bissonette's words, "project management is all about risk management." Bissonette is a certified project and portfolio manager and he's clearly bringing a broader view (beyond individual project management) to this book.
His opening presentation cited the six constraints of project management, moving beyond the classic triple constraint of scope, schedule, and cost. He adds resources, quality (which I focused on during my PMI Willamette Valley PMP instruction this summer), and risk. Obviously, balancing six constraints increases the complexity of the project management work.
Bissonette demonstrated the use of a project risk matrix tool during this session and emphasized that setting of risk tolerance levels in the matrix should fundamentally be a governance decision as opposed to a PM/project team decision. This followed his description of a project scenario in which the PM added more and more risk to a project (by compromising on future activities, eating into reserves, etc.). This is a challenging point for me to work through (the PM is supposed to be "large and in charge"), but Bisonette again pushes the reader to view projects at the portfolio level and at the organization level to enhance project risk management.
The author recommends creating and using in-depth lessons learned documentation in order to reduce the organization's risk for its projects.
He describes Project Risk Management: A Practical Implementation Approach as a reference book - though my current plan is to do a cover-to-cover read and engage with the author and other readers through the closing webinar, which will be held in October. I'm reading this book in the Kindle format and I'm still unsure of how effectively I can use reference format books (beyond a dictionary) on the Kindle.
Finally, this 2016 book references knowledge areas, processes, and tools from the PMBOK Guide, Fifth edition and not the Sixth edition.
Great contribution today by Michael Wood on leading projects in a change-resistant culture.
The problem: "Firmly established [organizational cultures] tend to be resistant to change, especially if that change is going to impact...Traditions and ways of doing that are deemed 'good' and 'right'."
Thinking it through, the responsibility should be on the project manager to make progress in the situation, and Wood suggests (as one approach) careful PM analysis and assessment of the culture to ensure that PM communication is in synchronization with the culture to as great a degree as is possible.
Arvind Kumar from PMI's Chicagoland chapter posted on project failure causes: Why Do Projects Fail?
My thoughts: Kumar notes the need to assess projects based upon all three legs of the iron triangle, scope, schedule, and budget.
Kumar cites improper level of project management as a leading cause and recommends a deeper level of engagement for less-experienced PMs ("Every detail contains a seed that can mean the difference between success and failure"). As a new IT director, I can relate to this thinking. At the same time, this approach seems counter to the increasing use of agile approaches in project management and increasing the sense of team ownership of a project.
In terms of addressing the top cause cited by the author, incompetent project managers, I see ongoing project management education and PM community engagement as keys in improving the situation. There are opportunities for PMPs: PMI conferences (global and regional); the kind of training that's offered through projectmanagement.com or REPs; and, engaging in PMP instruction efforts. This level of commitment for PMPs should go well beyond the minimum requirements required for retaining certification - in fact, gaining the required PDUs should be an easy byproduct of the ongoing work that's needed to excel in project management.
For "Lack of management support.": I think of Neal Whitten and his focus upon the project manager's authority - and the fact that some PMs go through their career without being called on the carpet for exceeding their authority. Thus, I think the PM should maximize his/her authority to overcome the challenges here.
Kumar recommends a tool to improve project estimates: "Function points are units of measure for functional size as defined within the International Function Point Users' Group (IFPUG) Functional Size Measurement (FSM) Method. It is the major global functional sizing methodology."
I see Kumar's article as based purely on traditional or predictive project management. (The author reached out to me and shared this article that he wrote, Agile for Complex Projects. ) Given the 2017 release of the Agile Practice Guide and the increasing use and integration of agile approaches, I'd like to see a project failure analysis that takes agile more into account - I may take a shot at this.
I'm still in my adjustment period to my new position at the University of Oregon Libraries. However, I'm hoping to spend more time focusing on project management. I read this Andy Jordan article this evening on projectmanagement.com and it certainly strikes home for me. Jordan suggests that project managers (and any manager leading a PM) ask the "so what" question when evaluating problems: "When they find out that there’s an issue—a delay, bug, additional expense, lost resource, triggered risk, etc.—they should try and understand what the implications are."