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Project Management Is Really Risk Management

Project management is about getting your project to the finish line on time and on budget. Failure to complete a project or to blow its budget or timetable is often the result of risks that were not predicted in advance or could not be controlled. In this sense, project management is pretty indistinguishable from risk management. Greg McMillan and Hunter Vegas write in a book excerpt on how to be a good project manager and risk manager all at once.

They begin by stating emphatically that the Jiminy Cricket method of wishing upon a star and hoping for the best is not the way to manage a project. A good project manager hunts for risks from the outset of a project, and the sooner mitigating action is taken, the better. Recommendations on how to limit risk include choosing the project team wisely, knowing the technology, knowing the process and/or client, sending graphics or partially completed software to the client for early review, building and testing the control panels in advance, and avoiding the latest version of software. With regard to the last recommendation, new software often still contains bugs as it is rushed out the door, and it is best to let someone else deal with the headache of new emerging software problems when you should be keeping busy with the project at hand. McMillan and Vegas go on to offer one more mundane concern to watch out for as well:

Order any project material early and constantly check on its progress once ordered. Many projects have been delayed because the equipment failed to arrive on time. Sometimes the purchase order never got placed by the Purchasing Department, sometimes the vendor lost the order, and sometimes the factory got behind and failed to deliver or delivered the wrong thing. Assign a person to check up on each purchase order and when items arrive, open the boxes and make certain the material is correct.

Vigilance is the recurring theme of both project and risk management. Always be monitoring the variables to ensure the best possible results.

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About John Friscia

John Friscia is the Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He began working for Computer Aid, Inc. in 2013 and continues to provide graphic design support for AITS. He graduated summa cum laude from Shippensburg University with a B.A. in English.

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