Crisis Projects: Project Management Implications

Crisis Projects: Project Management Implications

  1. Leader of the Crisis Team

  • Rare that a project manager leads a crisis team.

  • Decisions made are not the usual decisions made by a project manager.

  • Project sponsor will assume dual role and be leader of the project team as well.

  • Leader of crisis team will have complete authority to commit corporate resources to the project.

  • Project manager, as we know it, will actually be an assistant project manager.

  1. The Crisis Committee

  • Composed of the senior-most levels of management.

  • Should have multi-functional membership.

  • Project managers and assistant project managers report to the entire membership of the committee.

  1. Crisis Communications

  • Leader of the crisis team will be the primary spokesperson; responsible for all media communications.

  • Media cannot be ignored and has the power to portray the company as victim or villain.

  • Senior-most levels of management especially executives with professional communication skills must perform crisis communication with the media.

  • Corporation should speak with one voice. Be swift, honest, compassionate, open, sincere in responding to the victims and their families.

  • Information must not be withheld. It may be considered stonewalling.

  1. Stakeholder Management

  • Identify all parties affected by the crisis.

  • Each stakeholder can have different interests namely, financial, medical, environmental, political or social unrest.

  1. Assume Responsibility

  • Company must accept responsibility for its actions (or inactions) immediately , and without being coerced into doing so.

  1. Response Time

  • Usually a small window of opportunity where quick and decisive action can limit or even reduce the damages.

  • The media views quick response favorably.

  1. Compassion

  • Respect for people mandatory irrespective of who was at fault.

  • Emotions of victims and their families expected to run high.

  • Public expects company to demonstrate compassion.

  • Be on the scene of the disaster as quickly as possible.

  • Delay may be viewed as lack of compassion or , even worse, that the company is hiding something.

  1. Documentation

  • Decisions need to be clearly documented for legal reasons.

  • Project manager and associated team members should possess strong writing skills.

  1. Capture Lessons Learned

  • Capture lessons learned from both internal and external crises.

  • Examine risk triggers, develop risk management templates and a corporate credo.

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

 

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Project Office and Business Case Development

Project Office and Business Case Development

The Project Office needs to become an expert in business case development.

Most project managers are appointed after the business case is developed.

Reasons:

  1. Project manager may not be able to contribute to the business case.
  2. Project might not be approved and/or funded and it’s an added cost to have the project manager on board early.
  3. Project is not well-defined yet. It may be too early to determine who would be the best choice for project manager.

Issues:

  1. The project manager ultimately assigned may not have sufficient knowledge about assumptions, constraints, and alternatives considered during business case development. This could lead to a less than optimal project plan.
  2. Project charter–prepared by someone else—may not have all the necessary assumptions, alternatives and constraints.
  3. The earlier the project manager is assigned, the better the plan and greater the commitment to the project.
  4. Business case development often results in a highly optimistic approach with little regard for schedule and/or budget. Pressure is then on the project manager to deliver–irregardless.

Conclusions:

  1. Project Office should develop expertise in feasibility studies, cost-benefit analysis and business case development.
  2. Templates, forms and checklists should be readily available to help in business case development.
  3. Project Office becomes a practical support to the sales force in making more realistic promises to customers and aid in generating more sales.

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

Quality Circles

English: Every project is implemented under th...

English: Every project is implemented under three constraints, scope, costs and schedule. The diagram shows quality as the fourth constraint or as a result of the three aforementioned constraints Project Management (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Quality Circles — small groups of employees who meet frequently to help resolve company quality problems and provide recommendations to managers.

Meet frequently either at someone’s house or at the plant before work begins.

Identifies problems, analyzes data, recommends solutions and carries on management-approved changes.

Success heavily dependent on management’s willingness to listen to employee recommendations.

Key elements of quality circles:

  • Team effort.

  • Completely voluntary.

  • Trained in group dynamics, motivation, communications and problem solving.

  • Rely upon each other.

  • Management support active but as needed.

  • Creativity encouraged.

  • Management listens.

Benefits of quality circles:

  • Improved quality of products and services.

  • Better organizational communications

  • Improved worker performance.

  • Improved morale.

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

Standard Project Estimating

Standard Project Estimating

Estimating Method

Generic Type

WBS Relationship

Accuracy

Time to prepare

Parametric

Rough Order of Magnitude (ROM)

Top Down

-25% to +75%

Days

Analogy

Budget

Top Down

-10% to +25%

Weeks

Engineering (grass roots)

Definitive

Bottom up

-5% to +10%

Months

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

English: Project development stages

English: Project development stages (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Response Options for Risks and Opportunities

Summary of Response Options for Risks and Opportunities

Type of Response Use for Risk or Opportunity Description

Avoidance

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.

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).