Why Avoidance Should Be 1 of Your 7 Risk Responses

February 12, 2015 | Author: PM Hut | Filed under: Risk Management, Risk Response & Control

Why Avoidance Should Be 1 of Your 7 Risk Responses
By Harry Hall

Earlier I wrote about seven ways to respond to risks. One of the risk responses is avoidance. The focus of this strategy is to ensure the risk does not occur…that is, we eliminate the cause of the risk.

My Personal Story of Stupidity

It was Fall, and I had raked leaves in my back yard into three piles. I was trying to decide what to do with them. I knew there was a ban on burning in my area. We had been extremely dry for months.

What were my options? I could bag the leaves. I could carry the leaves down into the woods…or I could burn the leaves.

I thought to myself – surely I could burn the leaves. No one will ever know. Later, I would soak the areas to ensure the fires were extinguished.

Before I went to bed, I checked the three areas again…no embers, no sparks, no smoke. Everything looked safe. I went to bed.

Next morning, I walked down the hall toward the kitchen for coffee. I looked out the window. What I saw next shocked me – fire as far as the eye could see. Yikes!

I am a southerner…I speak a bit slowly…most of the time. At this moment, I was talking and yelling at speeds I’ve never reached before, “There’s FIRE in the woods! Call the fire department! Call the fire department!”

My wife made the emergency call. My son and daughter jumped out of bed to help.

I grabbed some old towels and ran toward the fire. I attempted to beat down the fire in different areas. With every swipe, the fire would simply pop back up like magic. It was no use.

Meanwhile, my ten-year-old son took a water hose, continuously sprayed the back yard, and kept the fire from advancing toward the house.

Soon I heard the sirens. The fire department arrived. The forestry department arrived. The ambulance arrived. The neighbors arrived with tools in hand.

I have never been so embarrassed in my life! I wanted to run for cover, but there was nowhere to hide.

The fire department said the best strategy was to contain the fire with a fire break and let the fire burn out on its own. The forestry department cut a fire break around several acres. By this time, fire was up in the trees. It looked like a scene from the “Hunger Games: Catching Fire.”

After everyone had left, I went in for a shower. My wife heard someone knock at the door. It was the fire chief. He lit into her, “Ma’am, you must understand – your fire is not your fire…it’s everyone’s fire. This is why we have bans on fire when it’s dry.” He proceeded to let her know that the next time we violated the ban, there would be a stiff fine.

Lessons Learned

I am not proud of this story, but we live and we learn. Here are the lessons learned. These are lessons we can apply personally and professionally.

  • Avoidance may be your answer. I thought I could build a fire and cause no harm. Surely the fire ban did not apply to me. We sometimes take risks when we know we should not. I could have avoided the risk altogether. Very simple. Don’t light the leaves.
  • Our actions can cause harm to others. We sometimes think it’s okay to do our own thing. After all, it’s my life. However, our lives are interconnected to the lives of others. Our choices affect our friends, neighbors, and community. At work, our choices affect our team members, our organization, and our customers.

  • Our best attempts to control fires (called issues in the risk management world) may not be adequate. We may try to stop the issue from causing adverse impacts. However, some issues cause significant impact no matter how hard we try to stop it. Are we prepared? Do we have contingency plans and fallback plans for our most significant risks?

  • Defining and executing risk response plans is a much better strategy than responding to issues once they surface. Notice in this story the amount of effort and the cost to deal with an issue (fire in the woods). Making a good choice and avoiding the threat would have saved me a lot of heartaches.

What Risks Should You Avoid?

What activities are you engaged in today that you should avoid? What are the causes of your most significant threats? Are there ways of eliminating the cause and avoid the potential adverse impacts?

Be intentional about your risk management. Define your risk management plan. Identify and evaluate your risks. Discuss the most significant risks with your project team members and determine which risk strategy would be best. Define your risk responses to support the chosen strategy. Avoid risks where possible.

Harry Hall, PMP, PMI-RMP, is the Director of Enterprise Risk Management at the Georgia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company, one of the largest domestic insurance companies in the state of Georgia. You can read more from Harry on his blog.

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Project Management Articles – PM Hut

Professional Researcher / University of California Berkeley / Berkeley, CA

Professional Researcher Posted Feb 11
We are recruiting for a Professional Researcher (the research-track equivalent of the Professor position) within the Center for the Built Environment at the University of California Berkeley. The mission of the CBE is “to improve the environmental quality and energy efficiency of buildings by providing timely, unbiased information on building technologies and design and operation techniques”.

We are recruiting candidates to perform research aligned with that mission, focusing on HVAC systems or indoor environmental quality, depending on the skill-set of the applicant. The primary duties of the candidate will include:
• Perform research aligned with the mission of the CBE;
• Publish research in academic journals and at conferences;
• Write project reports for funding agencies;
• Supervise and train Masters and PhD students;
• Supervise postdoctoral researchers;
• Write proposals to obtain funding for future research projects;
• Engage with our industry partners (cbe.berkeley.edu/aboutus/industrypartners.htm).

We are recruiting personnel to perform research within our Advanced Integrated Systems research program. Over the coming years, this will focus primarily on radiant systems as part of a $ 3 million project funded by the EPIC program through the California Energy Commission.

If you are interested in joining our team, please see https://aprecruit.berkeley.edu/apply/JPF00644 for more detail, and to start the application process.

TO APPLY
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GreenBiz: Green Project Management

Playing the Project Manager

I really love this book. It’s not often that a gem of a book on project management comes along and this one is definitely one of those. I’ve just finished reading Playing the Project Manager from Charles Smith and throughout the weeks of picking it up and reading a bit more, it’s stuck with me in my thoughts. A sign of a good book you would say.

412+7RPNBTL._SL250_So Playing the Project Manager is all about the identities, style and mode of operation or performance of project managers. The book sees Project Managers as performers (actors). Performers in their own stories or narratives. Project Managers have certain modes of performance – as Charles calls them, archetypes – when they are in the full swing of managing projects.

This is the bit I really love. I’ve spent years talking to both those new to project management and veterans of the role about the style of a project manager. I’ve met so many different types of project managers over the years – and by different I don’t mean their experience or qualifications – I mean the way they choose to conduct project management – their behaviour, the words they use, the reaction from others and so on. It is a tricky thing to explain and this book does that perfectly.

I totally get that project managers are performers, in fact many people I’ve asked about that agree. They are playing a role. For every challenge or conflict they come across, they are adopting a certain mode of performing the role and trying to resolve the conflict. What is interesting though is in those conversations is that Project Managers often lack the insight or self-awareness to know what role they are performing. If a Project Manager was able to hold a mirror up, to really understand what modes they operate in and what other modes are available for consideration, it would be a revelation.

With Playing the Project Manager, Charles is bringing these archetypes to life through stories (the book is littered with well articulated real life stories of challenge and conflict from serving project managers). On the premise that the Project Manager is like an actor, they choose to speak and act like a performer in their projects (I likened this to the role of a barrister in court. They definitely do this and wouldn’t be out-of-place on Shaftesbury Avenue). The crucial thing here is that the performance is not ‘put on’, it’s not about over dramatising the role we play.

Charles introduces six archetypes:

  • The Analyst – these project managers guide actions by finding resolutions to problems and issues. They immerse themselves in detail, interrogation and logical analysis with the team
  • The Enforcer – acts on behalf of senior management to create order. Plays on fears of chaos and disaster. Deals in systems of authority, contracts, rules and the law.
  • The Expert – has technical knowledge in a professional discipline and a process to apply. Acts to bring others into line with the process
  • The Impresario – leads a personal value-creating adventure, persuading others to join in. Operates through personal deals, rule-bending and dramatic events (that’ll be me I think!)
  • The Master of Ceremonies – generates widely based inclusive social value. Operates through openness pauses and reflection.
  • The Reshaper – uses the project as the strategic arena for own career. Operates through political understanding, making and breaking alliances (think Thomas Cromwell in Wolf Hall)

For each archetype, through a series of examples, we uncover exactly what it means, how the project managers act, what they say, in this type of mode of operation. You can’t help but recognise people you know which for me indicates the light bulb moment of a book like this.

As with any performer, you are not stuck with the character you are. This book highlights the fact that project managers choose different archetypes throughout their careers and indeed with differing situations on any one project you are managing.

Alongside the excellent insights of the archetypes, there are some stand out quotes that tell me I would like a beer with Charles because I agree with his thoughts about the ‘custodians of the profession’, how dealing with difficult situations on projects transcends certificates and the like.

With one story from a project manager he talks about “throwing off the shackles of the profession (of project management)” in order to get the job done in the interests of his organisation. In another story, he talks about how project managers have defined and taken control of difficulties in their projects and how this has helped them grow in the role. They become the type of project manager who in the future can handle those difficulties much easier, a great quote:

…an opportunity for a changed identity – the person I can become – has been discovered lurking in the shadows of the project.

A quote about the purpose of a manager that really sums up the book for me, “…concerning not only the work to be done (the project) but also the development of the manager’s identity”.

What is interesting about this book and the stories within it is that there is very little mention of the tools of the trade. We read the challenges and conflicts of these project managers and not once do we see in the narrative mention of the project plan, the schedule, the risk assessment etc.

And that’s why this book is a gem. It has managed to nail the subject of what is really happening when a project manager chooses to manage a project. This book should be a compulsory companion book to any project management training course out there. We’re doing a disservice to people if we didn’t.

> Available from Amazon for £8 (£4.10 Kindle)

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How to Manage a Camel – Project Management Blog

MCSA Certification Prep Exam 412 Configuring Advanced Windows Server

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Admin Coordinator & Web Coordinator, Environmental Consulting / Green Inside and Out / Oyster Bay, NY

Admin Coordinator & Web Coordinator, Environmental Consulting
I am a professional environmental advocate, writer, and radio show host in Long Island. As owner of Green Inside and Out (greeninsideandout.com), I am also a public speaker and consultant. Two current projects include publishing a book about ecofashion and an environmental blog.
Green Inside and Out is seeking one or two sidekicks who can support me in keeping these efforts moving forward and growing, to help educate more people about environmental issues.

Job Duties:
Admin Coordinator:
• Input data from business cards into Excel or other database
• Keep papers organized, file news articles and other materials
• Research revenue-generating activities, i.e. venues to offer public presentations
• Order educational materials in preparation for speaking events
• Assist with book publishing process, i.e. research and editing
• Manage event calendar
• Other tasks as needed to advance projects & the business

Web Coordinator:
• Maximize Green Inside & Out’s social media presence
• Maintain and promote blog about green issues
• Organize photos and assist in video editing
• Update website on a timely basis, within a few days notice
• Upload radio shows and published articles to maintain online archive

Both positions could potentially be filled by the same person, or two people, depending on skill set and availability.

Payment would be $ 11.00 per hour for 12 to 15 hrs/month total (~3-4 hrs/week) between both positions.
Schedule is flexible and most work can be done from home, but it does require commitment to see projects through to completion. Some work will need to be done at the Green Inside & Out home office in Oyster Bay, Long Island. The work style and culture is casual and friendly.

Requirements:
College degree or some college education
Passionate about green/environmental issues
Background in fashion or business a plus
Proficiency in Word, Excel, WordPress, web site management, social media
Local or near to Long Island, with occasional commute to Oyster Bay
Responsible, self-motivated, organized, patient, flexible, and detail oriented
Available for immediate start

Please specify if you are interested in one position or both, and send your resume to schedule an informal interview.

Please also answer the following about skills you currently have or tasks you would be willing to take on:
1. Filing Y N
2. Data Entry Y N
3. Ecofashion Research Y N
4. Book Editing Y N
5. Organize Photos & Articles Y N
6. Social Media Y N
7. WordPress Y N
8. Update Website Y N
9. Photo & Video Editing Y N
10. HTML Y N

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GreenBiz: Green Project Management

Pwned in 7 seconds: Hackers use Flash and IE to target Forbes visitors

Talk about determination. Hackers strung together zero-day vulnerabilities in Flash and Internet Explorer and then compromised Forbes.com so that the attacks would compromise financial services and defense contractor employees visiting the site, researchers said.

The November breach of Forbes compromised the Thought of the Day page that is displayed briefly upon visiting the site. The page downloaded attack code exploiting a vulnerability in what then was a fully updated version of Adobe Flash. To bypass Address Space Layout Randomization—a mechanism built into Flash and many other applications to make drive-by attacks harder—the Forbes page downloaded a second attack. The latter attack exploited a then-zero-day vulnerability in IE that allowed the Flash exploit to successfully pierce the exploit mitigation defense. From start to finish, the attack took about seven seconds.

“In the world of cyber threats, the chained 0-day exploit is a unicorn—the best known attack with chained 0-days was the Stuxnet attack allegedly perpetrated by US and Israeli intelligence agencies against Iran’s nuclear enrichment plant at Natanz as part of an operation known as Olympic Games,” a blog post detailing the attack explained. “Given the highly trafficked Forbes.com website, the exploit could have been used to infect massive numbers of visitors.” Instead, only visitors from US Defense and financial services firms were hacked.

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Ars Technica » Technology Lab

iDoneThis Software Review: Overview – Features – Pricing

Need a simple project management software to manage your team?
Check-out our valuable and unique Top 15 Web Applications 2015.

Overview Presentation

idonethis-logoiDoneThis is an incredibly simple yet useful application. It is a web-based software that reminds each member of a team to reply to an email at the end of each day regarding what they accomplished on that day. The next day, everyone receives a digest portraying what the team got done on the previous day. Despite being such a simple application, it is consistently used by some of the biggest organizations in the world.

Features, Benefits, Product Strengths

  • Tactical Portfolio Supervision - iDoneThis allows its customers to precisely see their list of projects so that they can take decision about where to focus more or where to less. iDoneThis gives them a clear conception about monitoring and editing downstream personnel’s portfolio data, rank their projects, simulate their portfolio scenarios, and assess their capacity up to optimum level.
  • Functionality and Resource Management - iDoneThis also provides authentic project administration functionalities such as setting up deliverables, organizing everyday jobs, and maintaining costs of a project. It has resource management tools which supports various types of structures when assigning people on everyday jobs. iDonethis also has risk managing features which helps monitor project risks, characterize improvement, and locate contingencies and workflow. iDoneThis has tools to handle change requests and analyzes its impact using scenario replication.
  • Productive and Flexible Solution - iDoneThis software integrates well with MS Outlook by letting their customers to work openly from a well-known interface and still stay connected with the assigned responsibilities and team. iDoneThis team also has significant features to supply pre-defined reports and allocate them by email at a scheduled point. It has features like resource allocation supervision and timesheets for more efficient control and tracking.
  • Document Sharing and API Management - Task information is more precise when it is complete. As an online task collaboration appliance, documents and files can be stored and delivered to all members. However, iDoneThis provides file versioning to keep track of changes. Access rights are approved with quite a few degrees of permission, so it is completely protected. Customers may use whatever mobile gadget they may have: iOS, Android, or Windows Phone and even tablets. For picky functions, the API is also available for integration.

Take me to their Website

Pricing

iDoneThis is a highly configurable and customizable software, so pricing depends on how it is particularly fixed up for an individual’s or company’s unique requirements. Fees are usually paid monthly. It has normally three categories: Personal, Gold, and Business. Personal is free for all, Gold is $ 5 per month, where as Business costs $ 5/member per month. All in all, it is an extremely cost-effective software to enhance productivity.

idonethis-pricing

Social Network Presence

Target Market

iDoneThis is ideal for both small and big organizations. It helps management at big organizations working on several projects that fabricate a large amount of information, and requires an even greater amount of decision-making, to successfully supervise them all. Minor companies have some special necessities such as new product improvement, complex software extension, or public sector projects improvement, and can turn towards iDoneThis for enhanced productivity.

Supported Languages

iDoneThis is mostly English based, put provides support for other languages too on clients’ requests.

Some of their Clients

iDoneThis has garnered an impressive portfolio of clients. Some of the big names are Twitter, Uber, Mozilla, Reddit, Trip Advisor, Shopify, FourSquare, Code Academy, and Zappos.

Take me to their Website

Testimonials

Andrew Miklas, CTO at Pagerduty, said that instead of holding meetings, he can easily get his desired output by seeing iDoneThis e-mails.

Chris Savage, CEO at Wistia, remarked that iDoneThis paves the way to show others what they are working on, and no other tool does this.

Mary-Heather Cogar, Vice President of Operations at Ravelry, stated that it is highly motivating to receive iDoneThis emails in the morning and reflecting on the achievements of the team.

Why iDoneThis

In July 2011, iDoneThis was renowned as one of the “20 Hot Silicon Valley Startups You Need To Watch” by Business insider, and in December 2011, The Next Web awarded iDoneThis as one of the “10 Best Productivity Apps of 2011″ along with Evernote and Dropbox. Using iDoneThis’ mechanized features, analytical expertise and visual consumer experience not only lighten the load of updating the project sketch, but also supply project managers with precious real-time information. So with correct information and fewer distractions, they can focus more on better planning, implementation and collaboration. Moreover, iDoneThis is getting popular all over the world by gaining clients’ trust.

Company Info

iDoneThis was founded by Walter Chen, Rodrigo Guzman, and Jae Kwon in 2011 in San Francisco, California, USA. Amazingly, the company initially began as a weekend project to help one of the founders, Rodrigo Guzman, get back into shape. It worked, and helped them realize that tracking and sharing accomplishments everyday in turn inspired people to get more done.

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Project Management Articles – PM Hut: Don’t Be This Person

February 11, 2015 | Author: PM Hut | Filed under: Project Management Best Practices

Don’t Be This Person
By John Steinmetz

I know this has happened to you: You go to a meeting and someone presents a topic to the team. They may even have a PowerPoint presentation or a Word document. But as they go through their material, they start saying things like, “I haven’t really finished all of this yet” or, “I didn’t have a chance to completely put this together.”

You also notice that there are formatting issues – bullet points don’t line-up, some pages have very little on them, some typos, etc.
Or maybe they started the meeting by saying, “I really haven’t had a chance to think through exactly what we are going to do today. Let’s see, where should we start?”

Okay, after these type of things happen in a meeting, it gives me two questions for you:

  1. How confident are you in the information that was just shared in the meeting?
  2. What do you think of the person that presented the information?

Here are the answers to those two questions:

  1. You don’t fully trust the information
  2. You don’t think very highly of the person

Have you ever presented information like this? Ever gone to a meeting unprepared? Ever led a session you weren’t ready for? If you have, then you are the person described above.

Don’t be this person.

Think about it. When you are this person, your information isn’t trusted, and people aren’t thinking good things about you.

Why have you been this person? Two reasons.

  1. You weren’t organized
  2. You weren’t prepared

The answer…

Be organized. Be prepared.

What happens when you are organized and prepared?

People perceive that you know what you are talking about. People believe you are good at your job. People trust the information that you present.

Those are all really good things. You want people to think all of those things. So how do you accomplish that?

Be organized. Be prepared.

Okay great, but what does that mean?

Spend the time to be ready for a meeting. Never present something you haven’t finished. Never lead a meeting you haven’t planned in advance. Clean-up your materials – no typos, bullets line-up, same fonts, matching point sizes, etc.

I know you are busy and you have a lot going on. Maybe you need to work extra hours to get ready. The people in the meeting don’t have to know that you were working until 2 am to complete the information. As far as they know, you were at the meeting and you were organized and you were prepared.

What happens next?

When you are always organized and prepared, everyone gets used to that from you. They know that when you work on something, it goes well.

Do you know what happens then?

They accept what you say. They believe you are correct. They believe you know the answers.

They like working with you. They are happy when you are on a team with them. They like it when you lead a project or meeting.

They think highly of you. They trust you. They believe your information.

Why?

Because you were organized and prepared.

Unbelievable. All of those good things are coming your way simply because you were organized and prepared.

Always be organized and prepared.

It really isn’t that hard. Just spend a bit more time. Work a little more. Get yourself organized. Get yourself prepared.

Whether you are meeting with your boss, with customers, with a project team, or just sharing information with co-workers in a team meeting – you have to be organized and prepared.

Always be the organized and prepared one. That’s the person you want to be.

John Steinmetz makes things better at the University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC) – he does this by helping customers identify and implement solutions to their problems. John is the Director of the KUMC Enterprise Project Management Office. Prior to joining KUMC, John designed and led EPMO teams for multiple other organizations. With an extensive background in management consulting and IT, John has wide-ranging experience in working with executives to solve complex business issues. John’s focus is to find actionable solutions and successfully implement those solutions across the enterprise. This is accomplished by finding real, sensible, and practical answers that others could not see. Often this is in the midst of a highly political cross-functional environment, where agreement and alignment of the key stakeholders is critical to success. You can read more from John on his blog.

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Excel — Project Planner and Tracker — Microsoft Excel 2013 -Part 3

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Excel -- Project Planner and Tracker -- Microsoft Excel 2013 -Part 3

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EPMA – www.epmainc.comT his video demonstrates the new ‘Task Path’ highlighting feature within Microsoft Project 2013. Find more information at: BLOG: www.ep…

The Use of RAG Reporting

WHAT IS RAG

RAG stands for Red, Amber and Green reporting. There are lots of programs that use these reports. Can we ultimately trust bosses that use the RAG results? Yes and no. It all depends on the situation. Let’s explore this a bit further.THE PROGRAM OF RAG

Bosses use this program to indicate how good or bad a project is going. With each level, specific light comes on. If you see the red light, it means there are problems with the program. When this happens tweaks need to be made. In some cases, it might mean going back to the drawing board entirely and starting over.

With the amber light, it means the program is okay. Will that mean good or bad for the program. It all depends. With some programs that enter the amber stage, you do need to go back and try a few things out. Other times it means that everything is okay and you can move forward.

The green light means that everything is good. In some cases, it means that everything is gold.

Usually companies use these reports when it comes time for budgeting and project scheduling. It’s used to indicate which programs need to have more money spent on them. If a program gets the green light around this time, you only need to do minimal scheduling. Sometimes you don’t need to schedule anything at all.

WHY USE THE REPORTING

That’s a very good question, especially concerning those who handle things in unethical ways. This reporting is good to identify which programs have glitches. It also is used to identify the weaknesses. Now this does come with a downside. The management has to be confident in the project to begin with. The management needs to be confident in moving forward with something. The management also has to be accurate in their assessments. It’s easy to “fix” the results. Some personnel will do this to justify their own agenda. Using this method requires a great deal of trust.

SOME OF THE DISADVANTAGES

1) The main one is the trust issue. There are some upper managements that can’t be trusted. When you turn this reporting over to them, it’s like setting a kid loose in a candy store.

2) Lack of confidence in the information. You have to not only trust the management, but you also need to trust the information. Is the information coming across as fair and correct? Is there a green light, when there should be a red light? Sometimes computer systems will mess up. You have to expect this. At the end of the day, you need to put your trust in the accuracy. This is difficult for a lot of people.

3)Some put out the wrong projections, because they don’t want to upset the senior management. Sometimes lower management will prefer to work out the problem themselves.

SOME HELPFUL TIPS WHEN USING RAG

1) Apply practical problem-solutions to your problems. Identify early on where the issues are coming from, then work to fix them. If you do tis early on, you will avoid the upset of upper management.

2) Use a template everyday. This will keep things under budget and on track. The template can also give more accuracy with the colors, not to mention where the project actually stands.

3) Find common ground between lower and upper managements. This way there won’t be any issues when it comes to the results. As long as you establish good communication between the upper and lower levels, the stress levels will go down.

4) Establish some consistency when it comes to the reporting. Don’t just run one report one week, then a second one two weeks after. Consistency is the key.

RAG status reporting can be a powerful tool for many projects.

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