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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.

What Makes Organisations Fail to Execute Their Strategy?

I recently asked an executive where their organisation would be in 2 years’ time. After some tapping on their laptop, they proudly showed me their new corporate webpages, proclaiming their ‘strategy’, ‘vision’ and ‘mission’ statements.[1] So far so good – we’re halfway there. All we need to do now is execute that strategy! Presumably, it will just happen now that senior management have expressed the strategic direction? Maybe by some ...

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Scheduling and Cost Control in a Complex Environment

The recent UK Government’s enquiry into the management of major projects was cut short by world events, but the interim report and oral evidence make for interesting reading.[1] Experts involved included respected consultants and also academics such as Professor Flyvbjerg, from the Major Programme Management Department at Saïd Business School, Oxford. In short, experienced, but above all evidence-based experts. Unsurprisingly the variables under discussion were cost, schedule and benefits. Professor ...

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Seven Aspects of Project Risk in 2020

Ahead of its January meeting in Davos, the World Economic Forum published its Global Risks Report 2020, based on the input of 750 experts and outlining the biggest risks faced by economies over the next 10 years[1]. Infectious disease was ranked as 10th biggest risk in terms of impact, and didn’t figure at all in the top ten by likelihood. And if the WEF didn’t see a risk coming, then ...

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7 Advantages of Virtual Instructor-Led Training (vILT)

We live in a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) world, a fact brought only too close to home by recent global events. To continue to survive in this environment, successful organisations understand they must think and act differently. Of course, for some organisations, ceasing operations, albeit temporarily, may be the best immediate course of action in the face of crisis. But for companies with resilient systems and the right ...

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The Commercial Project Manager

The client called the project manager to ask if the final performance test and approvals meeting could be moved to Friday, one day delay, ‘it would fit in really well because Sarah (Technical Manager) will be in the office’. No problem, agreed the Project Manager, looking forward to the final sign-off, invoice issue and associated $200,000 balance payment.[1] The PMBOK[2] contains the word ‘cash’ three times, only once referring to ...

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The Project Revolution: How to Succeed in a Project Driven World

The Project Revolution, the latest book from Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez, makes and supports the claim that not only has the operating environment become one in which project working has become increasingly important but that the rate of this may be described as a ‘project revolution’. The emergence of projects as the economic engine of our times may have been silent, but it is incredibly disruptive and powerful. Mr Nieto-Rodriguez has been ...

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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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