Risks, Issues and Assumptions: on my way to work

Program Management, Project DPro, Project Management

It is not rare that we misinterpret terms which definitions are similar or applied differently in different context or areas of work. One example in the project management area is the common confusion between risk, issue and assumption.

The PMDPro Guide defines risk as the potential effect of uncertainty on project objectives. There are two key aspects of risks: probability (what is the odds of the event to occur?) and impact (how “large” is the change in the project?).

Assumptions are hypotheses about necessary conditions, both internal and external, identified in a design to ensure that the presumed cause-effect relationships function as expected and that planned activities will produce expected results. In other words, assumption is an event, condition or fact that we need to happen or maintain in order to assure the project success.

Finally, issue is a problem – something that is happening now. Issues can be either something that was no predicted or a risk that has now occurred. It can take the form of an unresolved decision, situation or problem that will significantly impact the project.

We could relate these terms with the following simple expression, that would help their comprehension: Continue reading “Risks, Issues and Assumptions: on my way to work”

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What did the Project Managers ever do for us?

Leadership, Program Management, Project Management

There is that famous scene in Monty Python and The Life of Brian where the rebels are demanding action against the oppressive Romans and ask the question ‘What did the Romans ever do for us?’- The answers came back over and over again as the rebels listed the many things that the Romans brought with them … medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh-water system, and public health. So, quite a lot!

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I sometimes hear of project management and project managers being challenged in much the same way … ‘what has project management done for us (the organisation)?’ The thinking presumably goes that there are projects but if the business keeps doing projects then they become (presumably) less unusual and less risky and therefore they don’t need this elite band of project managers to constantly be ‘on the case’. Or perhaps it I less a matter of thinking and more a matter of memory loss, forgetting what project based business life was like before project management was in place and making a real difference. Continue reading “What did the Project Managers ever do for us?”

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Program Management for Development Professionals Guide

Diagrams, Program Management

PM4NGOs is developing the Program Management for Development Professionals Guide to provide advice, tools and guidance to help Program Managers work effectively at a pivotal level in local, national and international NGOs.

Program managers play an essential role by providing an interface between their organization’s strategic management team and project managers who are accountable for the successful delivery of small, medium, and large projects.

The Guide is expected to be launched in the first semester of 2016. However, we would like to anticipate discussion about this new approach and to gather feedback from the PM4NGOs community in advance by sharing our new Program Lifecycle diagram and approach.

Continue reading “Program Management for Development Professionals Guide”

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Managing Programs: are you in a horror movie?

Program Management, Project Management

A program is a group of related projects and activities that are managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits not available from managing them individually (PMDPro). In other words, the whole (the benefit of the program) is greater than the sum of its parts (the projects, activities, and tasks).

However, even well designed programs might include projects that do not properly contribute to the program goals… in fact, some of these misplaced projects might and often do haunt the program, its projects and, especially… the program manager! Continue reading “Managing Programs: are you in a horror movie?”

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Developing a Program Management Standard

Program Management, Project DPro, Project DPro Guide, Project Management
L-R: Kim Kucinskas, Chris Foster, me, John Cropper, Brandy Westerman, Lucy Davies (not pictured Edson Marinho)
L-R: Kim Kucinskas, Chris Foster, me, John Cropper, Brandy Westerman, Lucy Davies (not pictured Edson Marinho)

This past week I had the pleasure of working with a fantastic group of people as we developed the next offering from PM4NGOs – The PgMD Pro Guide (Program Management for Development Professionals Guide) standard.

The PgMD Pro Guide will be the next step in establishing solid program and project management standards within the Humanitarian Aid/International Development sector. We (PM4NGOs) have had great success with the PMD Pro (both the Guide and certifications) over the past 5 years, and we are excited about this next step.

Continue reading “Developing a Program Management Standard”

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