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Overcoming the Obscure Obstacles

When obstacles arise during a project, some of them may be incredibly difficult to overcome. What makes obstacles more arduous is when it is unclear why they are there. Harry Hall, writing for PM South, elaborates on this need for clarity and how to declutter one’s life.

Cleaning Up Ambiguity

Greg Mckeown’s book entitled Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less explores the problem of getting more done. His view is that this should not be the superior goal, but rather people should strive to get the right things done. Teams need to take the time to identify the vital tasks to be accomplished and devote their focus and resources to those deemed pertinent.

Utilizing risk identification exercises is a simple manner in which to identify the risks involved with a project. Understanding risks is helpful because it allows for a manager to know where to focus. Are these risks reoccurring or are there any common causes? The answers to questions such as these will help to clear the air and create an environment with easy-to-see obstacles and a road map to get around them.

An easy way to handle identified risks is to simply categorize them. See where the greatest number of risks is a possibility; however, know that this does not take into account the severity. A risk score will help to identify the severity of the threat, and this in conjunction with the category identification will help guide decision-making in regard to where to focus.

There is a drawback to categorizing risks: it may point blame at specific individuals or departments. What if one category is immensely larger than the others? This makes the people in charge of this area look bad for not better managing the prevention of risks. However, this is generally not the case, and people should be reassured that they are doing a fine job and this analysis is a precautionary method, not an indicator of poor work.

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About Danielle Koehler

Danielle is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. She has degrees in English and human resource management from Shippensburg University.

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