Project Risk Management: A Practical Implementation Approach by Michael M. Bissonette.
Growing worldwide competition in virtually every industry has raised the bar for developers and marketers of new products and services. This has led to the goal and pursuit of doing more with less, and thus intentionally taking more risk, which leads to the need for tighter project controls to succeed as a thriving business entity. Further, recognizing that project management competencies, tools, and techniques have evolved over time to enable more reliable and effective project performance raises the need to consider what best practices projects should employ to maximize their probability of success, and gain a distinct competitive advantage in today’s marketplace. This book addresses these concerns in a very practical way.
This book is established as a project risk management application supplement. The content and approach augments other tutorial publications on the subject (e.g., the Project Management Institute’s A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) – Fifth Edition and practice standards) by addressing this topic relative to every aspect of project management, and providing insight, knowledge, and case study examples which facilitate the determination of “best practices” and the practical implementation of project management tools and techniques. This information is relevant to virtually any project type and any industry. It contains valuable insights and rationale, which will directly benefit practicing project managers, organizational managers, and those aspiring to become project managers. This content is also written for the executive level, to provide practical perspectives of the organizational influences that have a direct bearing on project performance, and some key considerations for improving project management performance, in general.
The classical project risk management processes relative to the establishment of a risk management plan, identifying risks, analyzing risks, developing risk responses, and controlling risks provides a necessary foundation for effective overall project management. This content is thoroughly addressed within the early chapters of this book, but that is not where the discussion ends. After over 35 years in research and development and 25 years of project management experience in different industries the author has solidified his view that risk management permeates project work. Every project management tool and technique has been established over time to reduce risk of project failure, so this must be understood if one is driven to be successful at managing project risks, and managing projects in general. Project managers and organizational leaders need to know how to determine which project management tools and techniques are best for their projects—for “less-than-best practices” lead to project risk. Project managers must also understand how to continually balance a project relative to all of its major constraints (i.e., project scope, schedule, budget, resources, risks, and product quality)—not just during initial planning, but throughout the project life cycle. Organizational leaders need to fully comprehend and realize that organizational assets and resource management do indeed affect project performance. They also need to know how to assign the right project managers and develop people and processes to ensure consistent, good project performance. How do project managers know whether their project team has considered all the germane project risks? What are the important questions to ask? What are the “best practices” to employ? The content of this book will help answer these questions.
As with many new ideas, the foundation for this book was based on work performed for several other purposes. The author studied “best practices” used in several industries, and worked on a model for determining those that apply for basically any type of project. He has developed and taught training materials for numerous classes in project management basics, risk management, planning/scheduling, product development processes, and cost/schedule control. He also recently developed a novel postmortem process (contained herein) to facilitate the objective evaluation of project lessons learned in a very efficient and effective manner, which readily identifies areas of necessary improvement. Beginning his career as a system engineer in an aerospace company, the author eventually became a program manager exposed to several of the most effective tools and techniques in the various topic areas noted above. He subsequently entered the consumer electronics industry and has held various executive-level positions throughout the past two decades, including: general management of a division, program and project management offices, system engineering, quality assurance, procurement, operations, and product marketing. His vast experience in different jobs, industries, and market spaces has afforded him a very unique perspective on the topic of project management. Realizing the need by managers at all levels to have a greater appreciation of the practical application of project risk management, from theory to practical implementation, the author puts forward this novel treatment of the subject, incorporating a rational, holistic perspective, which should be of great interest to all who are in pursuit of project management excellence. This book can serve several purposes. It will be a good reference for project managers to use when planning a project and when encountering project risks and issues throughout the project life cycle. It should also aid project managers in their understanding and appreciation of the various project management tools and techniques established over time, which impact project risk. It will help organizational managers to better determine how to effectively assign project managers and to know what to look for when hiring them. It will also sensitize organizational leaders to their roles in ensuring successful project performance. It will help teachers and people training prospective project managers. It will also serve as a good training supplement for the practical application of sound risk management concepts.
This book is written and intended to be broad enough to encompass numerous industries; clearly all those organizations that conduct complex and inherently risky projects and also those organizations with less risky projects that are expected to run smoothly and effectively save on valuable financial resources and the time it takes to conclude projects successfully.
It is worth repeating that this book is not limited to only project managers and aspiring project managers; it is also of great utility for matrix organizations that conduct a multitude of projects. In those organizations, it is essential that functional managers have a good grasp of project management principles and practical applications, for “best practices” can vary appreciably from project to project. This book communicates that information in a way people can learn without necessarily taking a course on the subject, especially if they already have a general understanding of the subject and some actual project management experience. Much of this information will seem like common sense, but very few will be able to effectively retain all the information, which makes it a very good reference book, as well.
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