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Author Archives: Rick Graham

Rick Graham
Rick Graham, an instructor with Strategy Execution, has been an active project manager for over 20 years. Areas of expertise and experience include strategic alignment, risk management, and optimisation of business value. Recent examples of projects with which Dr Graham has been involved include support in aligning project portfolio management systems with corporate strategic vision (telecommunications), development support in roll out of a global project risk management system, and support in project contracting strategy development and execution (oil & gas). He is a frequent speaker, and has been a keynote speaker at regional PMI conferences.

How to Carry Out a Schedule Risk Assessment

One of the key roles in any project core-team is an expert planner and scheduler. I was recently called upon to carry out an external review of a project schedule. This was a two year $20m project to deliver a turn-key manufacturing facility to a new customer. The project was two months in, and already two weeks late to schedule. Understandably management was becoming nervous about late delivery penalties. Although ...

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25 Practical Project Team Development Practices

Project managers don’t usually have a specific budget for team development, and yet, as the PMBoK says, teamwork is a critical factor for project success, and developing effective project teams is one of the primary responsibilities of the project manager. Of course, there are many dimensions to team leadership. However, this article looks at just one aspect of this – how to balance the competing imperatives of work delivery versus team ...

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Strategic Risk Management and Projects

Experienced managers know the value of the ‘elevator view’, that is, knowing when to press the button for the top floor to look down at the bigger picture, and when to descend to the ground floor to get down ‘amongst the weeds’. From the top floor, we can observe how the elements of our organisation, the projects, programmes, and portfolios, combine to deliver our organisation’s strategic objectives. At the ground ...

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Crowd Source Your Project Ideas

Your organisation vision and mission have been clearly defined. Clear and strong senior management commitment is visible, and reinforced at functional manager level. A clear strategy has been defined, and a new Portfolio Management Office is resourced by qualified and experienced managers. The PMO has the authority to consolidate and analyse the organisation’s projects and programmes (making recommendations to the board) and will direct, monitor and control progress towards achievement ...

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Risk Management – Threat and Opportunity Mirror Images?

Everyone knows that a risk event is something that may or may not happen, and, if it does, will impact the project. For worse is a risk, and for better is an opportunity. And certainly, if we follow the PMBOK approach to risk management, then we know that threat and opportunity management are simply mirror images of each other. For opportunities we identify, analyze, prioritise, and respond just as we ...

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Back to Basics? – A Top Ten Rules of Project Management

Never has it been so easy to keep up with the latest hot topics and innovations in project management. In addition to the rigorous academic and practice journals published by bodies such as the PMI and APM, there are many conferences and workshops where it is possible to interact with the leaders in various areas of the field. I was interested, however, to go back to basics, and to find ...

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Contract Management Skills for Project Managers

During the late 1910s and early 1920s, the Ford Motor Corporation constructed the world’s largest industrial complex along the banks of the Rouge River in Dearborn, Michigan. Henry Ford’s vision of mass production included not only the first production lines, but also the centralisation of the entire production chain. Iron ore and coal were shipped in by Great Lakes steamers and railroad, iron ore smelted to produce iron, and then ...

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How Many Kinds of Uncertainty Are There?

The sixth edition of ‘A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge’ (PMBOK6) takes a major step forward in its treatment of risk, not only addressing a wider range of ‘uncertainty’ than the simple event (it happens or it doesn’t) risk, but also acknowledging the necessity to integrate project risk management with enterprise-wide risk management, the latter aimed at addressing risks to benefit delivery and achievement of strategic objectives. ...

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