Response Options for Risks and Opportunities

Summary of Response Options for Risks and Opportunities

Type of Response Use for Risk or Opportunity Description


Risk Eliminate risk by accepting another alternative, changing the design, or changing a requirement. Can affect the probability and/or impact.
Mitigation(Control) Risk Reduce probability and/or impact through active measures.
Transfer Risk Reduce probability and/or impact by transferring ownership of all or part of the risk to another party, use of insurance and warranties, by redesign across hardware/software or other interfaces, etc.
Exploit Opportunity Take advantage of opportunities.
Share Opportunity Share with another party who can increase the probability and/or impact of opportunities.
Enhance Opportunity Increase probability and/or impact of opportunity.
Acceptance Risk and Opportunity Assume the associated level of risk or opportunity without engaging in any special efforts to control it. Budget, schedule, and other resources must be held in reserve in case the risk or opportunity is selected.

Source: Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling.

by Harold R Kerzner.

How personnel perceive the employee evaluation (Humour)

Guide to Performance Appraisal

Performance Factors

Excellent (1 out of 15)

Very Good (3 out of 15)

Good (8 out of 15)

Fair (2 out of 15)

Unsatisfactory (1 out of 15)

Far Exceeds Job Requirements

Exceeds Job Requirements

Meets Job Requirements

Needs some improvement

Does not meet minimum standards


Leaps tall buildings with a single bound

Must take running start to leap over tall building

Can only leap over a short building or medium one without spires

Crashes into building

Cannot recognize buildings


Is faster than a speeding bullet

Is as fast as a speeding bullet

Not quite as fast as a speeding bullet

Would you believe a slow bullet?

Wounds himself with the bullet


Is stronger than a locomotive

Is stronger than a bull elephant

Is stronger than a bull

Shoots the bull

Smells like a bull


Walks on water consistently

Walks on water in emergencies

Washes with water

Drinks water

Passes water in emergencies


Talks with God

Talks with angels

Talks to himself

Argues with himself

Loses the argument with himself

Source: Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling and Controlling by Harold R Kerzner (11th Edition). 

Project Management: Humorous laws

English: Project development stages

English: Project development stages (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Humorous laws pertaining to Project Management:

  • Abbott’s Admonitions
    1. If you have to ask, you’re not entitled to know.
    2. If you don’t like the answer, you shouldn’t have asked the question.
  • Acheson’s Rule of the Bureaucracy: A memorandum is written not to inform the reader but to protect the writer.
  • Anderson’s Law: I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when you looked at it in the right way, did not become even more complicated.
  • Benchley’s Law: Anyone can do any amount of work provided it isn’t the work he or she is supposed to be doing at that moment.
  • Bok’s Law: If you think education is expensive—try ignorance.
  • Boling’s Postulate: If you’re feeling good, don’t worry. You’ll get over it.
  • Brook’s First Law: Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.
  • Brook’s Second Law: Whenever a system becomes completely defined, some damn fool discovers something which either abolishes the system or expands it beyond recognition.
  • Brown’s Law of Business Success: Our customer’s paperwork is profit. Our own paperwork is loss.
  • Chisholm’s Second Law: When things are going well, something will go wrong.
    • Corollaries:
      1. When things just can’t get any worse, they will.
      2. Any time things appear to be going better, you have overlooked something.
  • Cohn’s Law: The more time you spend reporting what you are doing, the less time you have to do anything. Stability is achieved when you spend all your time doing nothing but reporting on the nothing you are doing.
  • Connoly’s Law of Cost Control: The price of any product produced for a government agency will not be less than the square of the initial fixed-price contract.
  • Cookeon’s Law: In any decisive situation, the amount of relevant information available is inversely proportional to the importance of the decision.
  • Mr. Cooper’s Law: If you do not understand a particular word in a piece of technical writing, ignore it. The piece will make perfect sense without it.
  • Cornuelle’s Law: Authority tends to assign jobs to those least able to do them.
  • Courtois’ Rule: If people listened to themselves more often, they’d talk less.
  • First Law of Debate: Never argue with a fool. People might not know the difference.
  • Donsen’s Law: The specialist learns more and more about less and less until, finally, he knows everything about nothing; whereas the generalist learns less and less about more and more until, finally, he knows nothing about everything.
  • Douglas’ Law of Practical Aeronautics: When the weight of the paperwork equals the weight of the plane, the plane will fly.
  • Dude’s Law of Duality: Of two possible events, only the undesired one will occur.
  • Economists’ Laws
    1. What men learn from history is that men do not learn from history.
    2. If on an actuarial basis there is a 50-50 chance that something will go wrong, it will actually go wrong nine times out of ten.
  • Old Engineer’s Law: The larger the project or job, the less time there is to do it.
  • Non-reciprocal Laws of Expectations
    1. Negative expectations yield negative results.
    2. Positive expectations yield negative results.
  • Fyffe’s Axiom: The problem-solving process will always break down at the point at which it is possible to determine who caused the problem.
  • Golub’s Laws of Computerdom
    1. Fuzzy project objectives are used to avoid the embarrassment of estimating the corresponding costs.
    2.  A carelessly planned project takes three times longer to complete than expected; a carefully planned project takes only twice as long.
    3. The effort to correct course increases geometrically with time.
    4. Project teams detest weekly progress reporting because it so vividly manifests their lack of progress.
  • Gresham’s Law: Trivial matters are handled promptly; important matters are never resolved.
  • Hoare’s Law of Large Programs: Inside every large program is a small program struggling to get out.
  • Issawi’s Law of Cynics: Cynics are right nine times out of ten; what undoes them is their belief that they are right ten times out of ten.
  • Johnson’s First Law: When any mechanical contrivance fails, it will do so at the most inconvenient possible time.
  • Malek’s Law: Any simple idea will be worded in the most complicated way.
  • Patton’s Law: A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.
  • Peter’s Prognosis: Spend sufficient time in confirming the need and the need will disappear.
  • Law of Political Erosion: Once the erosion of power begins, it has a momentum all its own.
  • Pudder’s Law: Anything that begins well ends badly. Anything that begins badly ends worse.
  • Putt’s Law: Technology is dominated by two types of people—those who understand what they do not manage and those who manage what they do not understand.
  • Truman’s Law: If you cannot convince them, confuse them.
  • Von Braun’s Law of Gravity: We can lick gravity, but sometimes the paperwork is overwhelming.

Source: Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling and Controlling by Harold R Kerzner (11th Edition).

Twenty project management proverbs

Twenty project management proverbs:

  1. You cannot produce a baby in one month by impregnating nine women.
  2. The same work under the same conditions will be estimated differently by ten different estimators or by one estimator at ten different times.
  3. The most valuable and least used word in a project manager’s vocabulary is “NO.”
  4. You can con a sucker into committing to an unreasonable deadline, but you can’t bully him into meeting it.
  5. The more ridiculous a deadline, the more it costs to try and meet it.
  6. The more desperate the situation, the more optimistic the situatee.
  7.  Too few people on a project can’t solve the problems—too many create more problems than they solve.
  8. You can freeze the user’s specs but he won’t stop expecting.
  9. Frozen specs and the abominable snowman are alike: They are both myths, and they both melt when sufficient heat is applied.
  10. The conditions attached to a promise are forgotten, and the promise is remembered.
  11. What you don’t know hurts you.
  12. A user will tell you anything you ask about—nothing more.
  13. Of several possible interpretations of a communication, the least convenient one is the only correct one.
  14. What is not on paper has not been said.
  15. No major project is ever installed on time, within budget, with the same staff that started it.
  16. Projects progress quickly until they become 90 percent complete; then they remain at 90 percent forever.
  17. If project content is allowed to change freely, the rate of change will exceed the rate of progress.
  18. No major system is ever completely debugged; attempts to debug a system inevitably introduce new bugs that are even harder to find.
  19. Project teams detest progress reporting because it vividly demonstrates their lack of progress.
  20. Parkinson and Murphy are alive and well—in your project.

Source: Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling and Controlling by Harold R Kerzner (11th Edition).

Project Evaluation: Making Investments Succeed

Accountability. Yes, we’d all like to know who’s accountable.

But that’s a funny word, isn’t it?

After all, isn’t responsibility the same thing?

Or as some smart ass wisely put it, ‘accountability is what’s left when you subtract responsibility’.

(That smart ass is Pasi Sahlberg, director of the Finnish Ministry of Education’s Center for International Mobility and author of the book Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland?) Continue reading

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IceBreaker Speech at Mumbai ToastMasters

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ITIL V3 – A Brief

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The Sum Of All Parts

We’re too self-absorbed!

So why do Indians cheat?

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Bollywood – Actresses – II

Web Services, SOA, BPM, and Cloud Computing IX


How Proza(i)c : Happiness in a Pill?

Web Services, SOA, BPM, and Cloud Computing VIII

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Bollywood – Actors – I


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Harsha Bhogle: The importance of the IPL

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Web Services, SOA, BPM, and Cloud Computing I


IT Project Management Quotes – These are not original

Web Services, SOA, BPM, and Cloud Computing II

Life and Program Management

Doosra: The life and times of an Indian

The Balanced Scorecard & Project Management

I have just finished reading a book on Project Management titled The Project Management Scorecard: Measuring The Success of Project Management Solutions by Jack J. Philips, Timothy W. Bothell & G. Lynne Snead.

Once we assuage our conscience by calling something a "necessary evil", it begins to look more and more necessary and less and less evil. –Sydney J. Harris, journalist (1917-1986)

The  idea of a scorecard to track management practices, their results and continuous improvement in a closed loop system is not novel to me.

Continue reading

Portfolio Management & Corporate Strategy

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Every project is implemented under three const...Project development stages


Monitoring and Control project activities The PRINCE2 process model


In this post, I will look at the parallels between Corporate Strategy and Portfolio Management or the strategic management of projects.

Strategy , w.r.t businesses , is defined at 3 levels.

The topmost is what we commonly term as corporate strategy , where strategy is looked at in terms of the businesses owned by the corporate entity. It can even be considered as a portfolio of businesses owned by the company , the aim which is to maximize ROI of the funds invested by the company. You might recognize the parallels to having an investment portfolio, where you have your funds invested in varying units in stocks, bonds and money market funds. The goal is to diversify and minimize risk.

The next level is what we can term as business strategy or strategy at the level of Strategic Business Units (SBUs). Here, each business outlines its position , its vision, its mission and aligns its strategy to meet to those broad,high-level goals. A strategic business unit may have a line of products and/or services that are usually inter-related.

Finally , we have what we call operational strategy or in common parlance tactics. This has got more to do with the day-to-day operation of the business or basically how we keep the business unit a ‘going concern’.

Now when we come to projects or Project Management , let us first define what a project is.

A project is a temporary body put together to achieve a specific purpose or goal. It has a definite start and end. I would even term it a temporary company since almost all the functions of a business unit or corporate entity are embedded in a project’s functioning, albeit on a much smaller scale.

A mature organization also has 3 levels at which it manages its projects.

The topmost level is what is termed Portfolio Management , where all the programs/projects in the organization are clubbed. This ensures that programs/projects are managed scientifically and rationalized so that resources and dollars are utilized in the most  cost efficient manner possible.

The next rung is the Program Management level, where a program is termed as a set of inter-related projects that achieve a broad , strategic goal of the company. A Program Manager runs a program. (That reminds me, I came across an interesting e-book on Project Management, that included a section on Program Management. The rationale being that Project Management is your day job, but Program Management is your night job! A point to keep in mind! The book’s name will come to me, sometime!)

Finally the lowest level is Project Management , that is management of a project by a Project Manager to meet a specific goal. A project by itself may build products that are to be consumed by other projects or another program. A project has a definite start and end. It is a temporary organization.


Thus the structure of corporate organizations and mature projectized organizations have some striking similarities. The differences are for another post altogether!

Have a great day!

Life and Program Management

Experience is the best teacher!
Well, maybe! But if we all wait to gain experience and then apply
the lessons learned, we might all be dead!
And we all can’t have mentors! So we learn to mentor ourselves!!
I am currently reading the book:

The Handbook of Program Management: How To Facilitate
Project Management with Optimal Program Management by James T. Brown

Some gems from the introduction:
“Companies that survive and thrive today and that will the
future will be those that have processes in place and can repeatedly
integrate new people and new technology into their existing
processes, thus producing superior products and services”
“Yes, innovation can still be a driving force for a
company, but innovation without process is short-lived. In fact,
companies with a pure innovation strategy usually have a process for

On change:
“Change makes its way to the operations environment through
the implementation of projects”
The need for program management:
“Successful program management is not magical, complicated
or difficult. However, it requires leadership and integrity to
repeatedly execute successfully. You can accomplish this with
sophisticated software packages and a cadre of consultants. Or you
can accomplish this with a calendar and a notebook”
“Tools and consultants in the absence of structured,
organized common sense usually result in program and project
failures that have pretty charts and diagrams to communicate why
they are over budget and behind schedule”
“Exceptional project managers may be able to deliver
success in isolation or sporadically in the absence of leadership
but even the best project managers fail on occasion when they work
in environments that lack leadership”
And finally Brown quotes Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. “A
moment’s insight is sometimes worth a lifetime’s experience”
Grab hold of the book and read it! It will teach you more than
just Program Management!
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IT Project Management Quotes – These are not original!

It is important to spend money up-front on IT projects to avoid spending a lot more later.

A large percentage of the costs of many IT projects are human resource costs.

Organizational issues had a much greater influence on programmer productivity than the technical environment or programming languages.

A dedicated workspace and a quiet work environment were key factors to improving programmer productivity.

Continuity is only part of the reason for documenting events and decisions.

It is easier and more accurate to plan short stages than long ones.

A lot of time can be wasted in producing a very good plan to achieve the wrong objective.

Estimation is best performed by a group of two or three people experienced in both the subject matter and estimating. This number tends to balance out any individual over-optimism or pessimism in calculation.

In large projects or difficult areas of work, it is prudent to estimate at least twice ,either by using two distinct approaches or by allowing two different sets of people to estimate independently.

More uncertainty should be expected in a Project Plan than in a Stage Plan. A Stage Plan is for a shorter time frame, in the near future and planned in much greater detail.

Be realistic about the availability of resources. Allowance should be made for holidays and time that people will spend on non-project activities. The average working week is only four days after allowing for holidays, training, sickness etc. Of these four days, another half-day will be spent on other duties , even by dedicated staff – for example quality reviewing for other projects, line management and meetings.

Allocate to each high risk or critical activity a resource in which management has confidence.

In case of illness, consider the actions needed for any resource that cannot be replaced. Train other resources as back-up for any critical and scarce skills.

It may be beneficial to employ a high-quality Project Manager part-time than a lesser quality Project Manager full-time.

Remember the Project Manager’s job is to manage the work, not to do it.

The Project Manager must avoid becoming involved in low-level detail to the extent that sight is lost of the ‘big picture’, that is, what is going on in every part of the project. The Project Manager should not mistake the trees for the forest.

If at all possible, choose people at a common location. Alternatively, ensure that suitable communications technology and training in its use is available.

PS: Just wondering if a TT session using these quotes would be an innovative way of having an Project Management training session! Just a thought!