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Project Manager : Project Manager June July 2012
4 Project Manager first word THE MAIN THEME OF THIS edition of Project Manager is on project risk management. Effective risk management is near and dear to my professional practice, and no doubt to yours. I would like to perhaps reverse our perspective on risk to the issue of curiosity; an admirable quality but one that seems to have a deleterious effect on the proverbial cat. But if curiosity killed the cat, while we mix metaphors madly, at least the cat had nine bouts of curiosity before finally succumbing. My own view is that we ought to embrace curiosity as one of our key attributes. In the beginning... Curiosity needs to feature from the ‘get-go’ in project initiation. The project manager should be wildy curious as to how the client established the project requirements, and should focus on issues such as: • how recent was the requirement gathering; • who was consulted; • what methods were used; and • is there a requirements management plan? Curiosity should gauge what level of ‘hospital pass’ is being transferred in the project brief, and what level of stakeholder friction and scope change exists in the requirements brief. During... In the second instance, a good project manager will show a high level of reflective curiosity. Like you, no doubt, my curiosity would extend to a pre-execution checklist of aspects like: • how good is the data; • how effective are my planning techniques; • what are all the unknowns; • have we developed the optimum project delivery strateg y; or • have we just used a tired and re-treaded delivery strategy? PM’s should be curious enough to reflect on the quality of their planning effort and to allow natural curiosity to inform them. Curiosity naturally extends to the project execution phase. A good project manager would exercise curiosity around: • how the project is performing versus how it looks; • how accurate the data is; • how others perceive the project; and • what does our data trend analysis say about the likely future of the project? The biggest danger in the execution phase is to suspend curiosity in favour of easy data and simply take information at face value, ignoring an enormous range of trend indicators. And in the end... Let me advance a bold proposition – that curiosity should extend into the review phase, asking questions such as: • how well has the project performed; • how do others feel about the experience; • would the client use me and my team again, and why; • how well have our methods and tools performed; • can we improve estimate assumptions in the future; • if we compare the original risk register with the final issue register, can we better inform future risk identification; and • which stakeholders emerged so that future projects start with a better stakeholder baseline? And my final suggestion, is that a PM should be profoundly curious about self: • how did I really perform; • what do others think; • should I seek different experiences in the future; • am I aware of what I don't know; • what professional development should I undertake; and • ifIamsohappywithmy current skills that I don’t feel the need for investment in self development, who gave me the right to be so sanguine? Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it took a while. The call to arms of this discussion is to recognise that project risks are better managed if we use curiosity as a critical attribute of our total project management approach. David Hudson National President Embracing curiosity Curiosity needs to Feature FroM the 'get-go'
Project Manager April May 2012
Project Manager Aug Sept 2012