Project Management Risks – Questions and Answers (Part 2)

Risk managementIn my previous post, I’ve addressed the first three questions on risk management and here I address the other two and, at the end, provide a list of take-home messages.

4. How many risks should be on your risk log and for how long?

It depends on the project size, type, complexity, and any other factor that could influence your project. However, in order to be on your risk log, a risk needs to be identified, analyzed (its probability and impact quantified), and mitigation measures applied. Assign a risk owner to each risk. This person is responsible and accountable for monitoring that risk and for defining and implementing mitigation measures.

As you can imagine, not all identified risks will be worth of listing in the risk log, as some risks are just too minor to be worth the cost, or time, of mitigating them. In general, the cost of mitigating a risk should be lower than the cost of the risk consequences if the risk does occur. Importantly, you should never delete risks from the risk log. Even a risk that has occurred can occur again, if not in this project, then in future projects of the organization. In this second case, the risk log becomes a lessons learned piece of documentation.

5. How do you manage project risks?

Risk management is something that needs to be done continuously, throughout the project, not only at the beginning. A project’s success depends on commitment to risk management. Make sure everyone is aware of risk management and appoint risk owners for each risk in the risk log. Regularly review risks, as any change to the project can add new risks or modify the impact and probability of the risks you previously identified.

Manage risks systematically using risk management techniques:

  • Avoid risks. If the project is too risky, the sponsor might decide to cancel the project altogether or modify it to remove the major risks. For this, make sure the sponsor is aware of the risks to the project. Take into account that some sponsors might decide to accept the consequences of some risks.
  • Soften the negative risks’ impact and maximize the positive risks’ consequences to the project.
  • Transfer the risk to a third party (by insurances, guarantees etc.). The risk will still be present, but you’ll have mitigated its consequences by transferring it to another party, usually for a cost.
  • Accept minor risks (those with low probability and low impact) and their consequences if the cost of mitigating them is too high.

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Why is it Important to Become a PM Credential Holder?

Project Management CertificationThe Project Management Certification has achieved huge recognition in the past few years. The projects which are maintained by certified project managers are more successful than non-certified project mangers. Project management has some specific strategies and principles which will help in making the project successful. These certifications are generally provided by PMI i.e, Project Management Institute located in USA.

PMI is the world’s largest charitable/not-for-profit member ship association for project management profession. It’s main aim is to increase the success rate of organizations by providing certifications on project management. PMI provides eight certifications which are mentioned below:

PMP® : Project Management professional

A PMP Certification course is perfect for the candidates who are interested in leading and directing the projects. PMP® is one of the most prominent certifications provided by PMI.

PMI-ACP : PMI agile certified Practitioner

This course is meant for the project managers who want to implement agile principles to make the project successful in an organization.

CAPM® : Certified Associate in Project Management

This is the entry level of certification for project practitioners. This is meant for those who have less project experience and want to improve their skills further.

PGMP: Project Management Profession

This course is specially meant for those who manages multiple projects simultaneously to accomplish successful projects in a firm.

PFMP : Portfolio Management Professional

This certification recognizes the skill of portfolio managers and provides the ability to manage multiple portfolios to reach the objectives of a firm.

PMI-PBA : Professional in Business Analysis

This course highlights you to gain experience in business field. It will also improve your ability to yield a successful business outcomes. Read the rest of this entry »

How Does RationalPlan Position Against its Competitors?

While publishing our products over a specialized reviews directory we were asked: “How do you position yourself against your competitors?“. To summarize it the answer would be: “RationalPlan puts the accent on productivity and tries to be as easy to use as possible: straightforward and intuitive“.

The Pareto principle (the 80/20 rule)

Compared to other products it has the same power but it is more affordable to the users. If you compare for example RationalPlan Single product with Microsoft Project standard version you get 80% of the functionality at 20% of the price. There was a customer – whose name I can not mention without his approval – that after buying RationalPlan he wanted a refund because he was not finding certain features available in MS Project. After explaining him where he can find that functionality we also recommended to keep the product. A few days later we received this answer: “Now that I get to know RationalPlan better, I wouldn’t want to miss it anymore. You helped me save a lot of money by “preventing” me from buying MS-Project :-)

Embedded project guide

Project management applications tend to be a little bit more complicated and require some training for users to understand how to use them. There are special terms and notions that need additional explanations to understand them. RationalPlan offers an embedded project guide that takes users step by step through the whole process of initiating, planning and controling a project. It is great for a novice or accidental project manager but has the power and the tools to assist an experienced one. Once users get used to the software they can hide the project guide, increase the workspace area and create their own pattern in using the product.

Works everywhere

RationalPlan was developed to work on any operating system: Windows, Mac OS X, different Linux flavors. Even more with the cloud service module it can run directly within the browser no matter what the underlying operating system is.

Great support

One of the main aspects that RationalPlan believes in is the client satisfaction. That is why customer support is a priority. RationalPlan is not a big brand and people do not know it that much but anyone that gets to work with it prefers it over the competitors. Here are just a few testimonials to confirm the customer satisfaction.

However the final verdict is what the users say about RationalPlan products!

Project Management Risks – Questions and Answers (Part 1)

Project Management RiskTo save all we must risk all”, Friedrich Schiller once said. If he were a project manager today, he might say, “To save all we must manage all risks”. Books, journals, corporate websites, YouTube, and discussion forums burst of information on risk management, because risk is inherent to every project just like uncertainty is inherent to any risk. Risk management is essential if you want your project to succeed. This article answers five questions on project risk management:

  1. What is the best definition of project risk?
  2. What’s the difference between a risk and an issue?
  3. How do you identify risks?
  4. How many risks should be on your risk log and for how long?
  5. How do you manage project risks?

1. What is the best definition of project risk?

One of Oxford Dictionary’s 1000 most frequently used words, risk refers to the possibility of something unpleasant, dangerous, or harmful occurring. This negative connotation of risk is so deeply rooted in many people’s minds that it takes some effort to get used to the project management definition of risk: “an uncertain event or condition that, if occurs, has an effect on at least one project objective,” according to the PMBOK.

Risk can be any uncertain event that, if it happens, will be good or bad for the project. Negative risks become threats to the project, while positive risks become opportunities. Risk management should address both types of risks, minimizing threats and maximizing opportunities.

Project risk is something you can control. You must manage risks if you want your project to succeed. However, be aware that there are risks called black swans that you cannot include in your risk analyses. I’ve explained why these risks are special and what you can do to minimize their consequences in another article.

 2. What’s the difference between a risk and an issue?

A risk is something uncertain, so it will happen or not during your project. An issue is an event that has happened or that you know for sure it will happen, even though you might not know when. A risk that occurs becomes an issue. This might be bad news or good news for you and your project, depending if the risk is negative or, respectively, positive. A positive risk becomes an opportunity for your project—for example, the opportunity to finish earlier than scheduled, or below budget, or anything that you might otherwise consider “lucky”. Both risks and issues have causes and consequences. Risk management is the way to deal with risks while problem solving is the way to deal with issues. Read the rest of this entry »

RationalPlan 4.11 – Improved Online Project Planning and Support for High Resolution Monitors

RationalPlan Project Management SoftwareStand By Soft is pleased to announce the release of RationalPlan 4.11. Current version comes with support for high resolutions screens, an improved web-based project management module for the Server product, better support for opening Microsoft© Project 2013 files, custom filters, more predefined roles and much more. Plus starting with this version RationalPlan is also available in Brazilian Portuguese language.

RationalPlan started as an easy to use and straightforward project management software but it evolved into an embedded and powerful system that is now available even as a project management cloud service both for individuals and for companies that need a distributed solution with concurrent access from multiple users.

Important changes for this version

For the online and server side segment the users will get:

  • Improved web-based project management module
  • A project guide
  • More filters and settings
  • New predefined roles (responsible and project manager)

Changes for the stand alone products:

  • Support for high resolution screens
  • Added possibility to change application font size
  • Added Brazilian Portuguese language
  • Improved integration with MS© Project 2013 files
  • Support for creating custom filters and saving filters

Online project planning is now easier to achieve with the new web-based interface from the RationalPlan Cloud solution. Although still in beta users now have interactive Gantt charts, access to manage risks and project details like info, notes, assumptions & constraints. Easy, straightforward and from any place with just a simple access to a web browser. Read the rest of this entry »

Brainstorming – Trendy or Not?

BrainstormingIt’s popular. It’s a classic. Those who endorse it say it’s an effective technique for generating many ideas but not a standalone method, so it should be used with other creative techniques. Those who criticize it say it generates mediocre ideas that are likely never implemented as solutions to problems. But this 60-year old technique called brainstorming – whose effectiveness is an evergreen hot topic among researchers, users, and critics – helps to identify project risks.

Brainstorming – The Definition

According to Merriam-Webster, brainstorming is “a group problem-solving technique that involves the spontaneous contribution of ideas from all members of the group; also: the mulling over of ideas by one or more individuals in an attempt to devise or find a solution to a problem”.

Brainstorming – The Story

A technique with a catchy name, brainstorming has been around since the 1950s when Alex Osborn’s book Your Creative Power was published, becoming a best-seller. This book may be “an amalgam of pop science and business anecdote”, as Jonah Lehrer called it in a New Yorker article that triggered lots of e-ink on discussion forums, but brainstorming is easy to implement and generates many ideas. Besides that, it’s a great team-building exercise, which may also justify its popularity with businesses. A brainstorming session emphasizes the quantity, not quality, of ideas and one of the rules to brainstorming sessions is no criticism so that people do not fear their ideas are rejected by the group and, thus, limit their imagination.

Brainstorming Types

There’s individual and group brainstorming, with individual brainstorming being better for problem solving and group brainstorming better for identifying project risks. Group brainstorming draws from the intelligence and experiences of more people but ideas expressed loudly may be biased since people do worry about others’ opinions even if one of Osborn’s rules for group brainstorming is “no criticism”. Online brainstorming—a sub-type of group brainstorming—uses e-brainstorming tools to help remote teams share their ideas in real time. Read the rest of this entry »

Project Management Glossary Of Terms – Pro — Pv

Program Definition Statement (“PDS”)

Program Director

Program Directorate

Program Evaluation and Review Technique (“PERT”)

Program Execution Phase

Program Executive

Program Identification Phase

Program Management

Program Management Office

Program Manager

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Project Management Glossary Of Terms – Pa — Pro

PA

Package

PAR

Parameter

Parameters

Parametric Cost Estimating

Parametric Estimating

Parent Activity

Parent, in scheduling

Pareto Diagram

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Project Management Glossary Of Terms – Z

Zero Based Budgeting

Zero Dollar Contract

Zero Float

Project Management Glossary Of Terms – Y

Yield