In the context of any strategic initiative involving a significant evolution in systems, process, or organization, risk is the chance that the effort will be less than a complete success … that it will be late, over budget, perform unacceptably when completed, fail to realize the expected business benefits, or even never be completed.
There are so many factors that can contribute to a less-than-successful project. How is a project manager to decide which to focus on and how to address them?
Milt Hess, in his paper Reducing Risk on Projects, presents a strategy for deciding which risk factors deserve attention and for integrating risk reduction into the project holistically instead of treating it as a separate activity. This strategy turns the traditional approach to risk management on its head. Instead of thinking about all the things that can wrong, it focuses on what has to go right.
The strategy requires that a project first establish a clear definition of success – its success targets. The paper describes concrete steps that the project can take to increase the likelihood of meeting the targets and the questions that senior management and sponsors should ask to ensure that the project stays on track.
Here are a few of the key elements of the approach:
Periodically develop a forecast of the expected outcomes for the success targets. If the forecast for a target is ‘I don’t know’, the project is at risk. Include resources in the project plan to reduce uncertainty about the outcome.
Dependency on external events and agents introduces risk. Explicitly identify dependencies during the planning process, document assumptions, and monitor them regularly. Include resources in the project plan to reduce uncertainty about the dependencies.
There are many ways to drive sales in a services business. The hardest is to convince a new prospect to hire your organization to perform new work. Once you have a client, though, it is far easier to:
Extend and expand contracted work to provide even greater value.
Find and develop new opportunities to deliver value in other parts of the same organization.
Find similar organizations that would benefit from doing what has been successfully done already.
Most service organizations dramatically under-play opportunities to deliver more value to existing clients and to deliver for new clients what has already been successfully delivered for another.
Click the figure above to view a graphic that shows how to juxtapose the roles of New Account Sales, Project Management, Account Management, and Solution Offering Management in a way that provides a solid foundation for steady revenue growth.
There are many ways to provide value to leaders who seek to turn ideas into benefits. Leaders of services firms need to get and stay clear about how they help leaders in order to perform and grow to their full potential.
Click the figure below to view a presentation on how to think about helping leaders turn ideas into benefits.
Organizations that offer solutions to clients manage: Projects, Clients, and Offerings as suggested in Figure 1. Managing each requires different skills and seeks to achieve different goals as outlined below.
When top leaders are informed, thinking critically, and engaged enough to provide guidance and direction How to connect the Top-of-the-House to the Front-Line, things tend to go pretty well. That is, things get done better, sooner, and more smoothly when leaders pay close attention. This note describes an efficient way for top leaders to get and stay up-to-speed, see and understand what is going on, ask questions and think critically, develop a point-of-view, and provide advice and guidance on their organization’s most important functions, projects, and initiatives. Continue reading How to connect the Top-of-the-House to the Front-Line.→