The Reality of Risks
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
In April, David Hillson, PMP, wrote a letter to the editor regarding
the article “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” which ran in January. I agree with Mr. Hillson that the article falls into the category
of what I refer to as emergency preparedness, business continuity and/or disaster recovery.
But if a 9.0-magnitude earthquake hits Louisville, Kentucky,
USA, I really doubt anyone is going to care about my project to
implement a new care management system at Norton Healthcare.
We will be all-hands-on-deck taking care of patients whether we
are clinical or not, assuming the bridges are still intact.
I disagree with the point regarding project risk management
not being intended to deal with “everyday risks.” These risks are
exactly what project risk management is intended to help with.
These “usual suspects,” as he calls them, are the things that
can make or break a project in our healthcare world. We deal with
life and death on many of our projects. In the enterprise program
management office, we recommend that all project managers have
these “usual suspects” at the top of their risk list on all projects.
If we lose the one key project team resource that has the most
knowledge of infusion pumps for the infusion pump replacement
project, then it’s a major impact.
Mr. Hillson also references A Guide to the Project Management
Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) in his response. I practically
have the section on risk management memorized, in addition to
PMI’s Practice Standard for Project Risk Management.
It says that “risk management will be more effective if its prac-
tice is tailored to the project and congruent risk management that
may comply with the organizational culture, processes and assets.”
I am concerned because new project managers may be
swayed from allowing “the usual suspects” from being brought
forward in their risk-identification planning sessions. The pur-
pose of risk identification is to brainstorm all potential risks.
I’m not an “expert” in project risk management, but I am the
executive leader of PM Solutions’ 2007 PMO of the Year and one
of the three 2010 PMI Project of the Year finalists. I have many
years of project and program management experience. I know
what works. Sometimes it’s the little “usual suspects” that can
totally derail a project.
—Janice Weaver, PMP
Louisville, Kentucky, USA
What’s your take? Continue this discussion in the Project Risk
Management Community of Practice.
risk.vc.pmi.org for more information.
Do You Need to Be a Good
Multitasker to Be a Great Project Manager?
Dave Gordon, PMP, MGM Resorts International, Las
Vegas, Nevada, USA, replies:
I have a comment on my white board: Multi-tasking is the
enemy of focus. You need to limit your work in progress,
whether it’s with a personal kanban or a pomodoro, or just
shutting off the phone and ignoring email for an hour or so
while you catch up. We need to defer, say no, “handle only
once,” and use whatever other time-management techniques
we know to get our personal backlogs down, so we can focus
on doing things one at a time, with a high level of quality.
>> Join the discussion in the PMI Career Central group.
How often do your virtual team
members meet with the
entire team in person?
VOICES ON PROJECT MANAGEMENT BLOG
Twice during a project: 10%
Using Expert Stakeholders Wisely
Lynda Bourne, DPM, PMP, writes:
One group of stakeholders whose input is critical to most
projects are experts—subject matter experts, risk experts,
quality experts. But not all experts are created equal and
too many people simply accept an expert’s views as a profound truth. How do you make use of an expert stakeholder’s
Scotty Bevill commented:
Leveraging stakeholders in an ownership role helps. If there
is specific expertise within the stakeholders themselves,
frequent discussions with the select group (more often than
just planned communications) not only builds the project manager’s ability to gain context of the expertise but will afford
the opportunity for issues to arise earlier, allowing for a better
>> Join the discussion at
We love to hear from you! Write us an email at email@example.com.
>> FOLLOW US on Facebook: www.facebook.com/PMInstitute.