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Harry Hall

The What, Why, and When of Evaluating Project Risks

Every project is a journey of uncertainty. How can we complete the challenges of each journey successfully? By identifying, evaluating, and responding to our project risks consistently. Let’s focus on the what, why, and when of evaluating project risks. What is the best way to evaluate risks? There are many ways to evaluate risks. Each has its place. In general, project managers perform qualitative and quantitative risk analysis. What’s the difference? Qualitative risk analysis is …

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How to Be More Forward-Thinking in Your Project Decisions

Projects involve a constant stream of decisions. Some decisions are quick and easy. Others are difficult, take lots of time, and have significant impact. Let’s look at three decision models that can help you be more forward-thinking in your project decisions. Few project managers think deeply enough about how their project decisions will be made. Using the wrong decision models results in weak decisions that often change later, in turn resulting in adverse impacts to …

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How to Identify Risks with a SWOT Analysis

Project managers can use several tools to identify project risks, including interviews, brainstorming, checklists, assumption analysis, cause-and-effect diagrams, the nominal group technique, and affinity diagrams. One of my favorite techniques is the SWOT analysis, where you and your team can identify and prioritize strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Once you’ve completed the SWOT analysis, you will have identified opportunities (positive risks) and threats (negative risks), inputs for your risk register. The information can help you …

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10 Powerful Questions in a Checklist to Save Your Projects

The CHAOS Reports have been published every year since 1994 and are a snapshot of the state of the software development industry. The Standish Group 2015 Chaos Report studied 50,000 projects around the world, ranging from small enhancements to massive systems implementations. It revealed that 29% of the projects were successful, 52% were challenged, and 19% failed. Successful projects were defined as projects that were completed on time, on budget, with a satisfactory result. If …

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How to Be a Productive Project Manager: 7 Tips

Many project managers feel overwhelmed with emails, phone calls, and meetings. They often work overtime, but few feel as though they are making progress. Although we are all given the same amount of time each day, some project managers are able to produce greater value for their organizations. Some are more engaged. Imagine yourself as a more productive project manager, one with greater capacity and energy to complete each day’s tasks. Let’s look at common …

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9 Practical Ways to Jump-Start a New Project

Imagine that you are at the 15% completion point of your project, a project that is essential to your organization’s strategic vision. Your project is significantly behind schedule and over-budget. You are not likely to dig yourself out of this hole. “No project recovers from a variance at the 15% completion point. If you underestimated in the near, you are generally off on the long term too.” –Gregory M. Horine You had the best intentions …

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7 Reliable Ways to Improve Project Estimates

Once upon a time, I sat in the office of a CEO as he described ten years of late and grossly over-budget Information Technology projects. He was more frustrated than a New York Mets fan losing another New York Yankees game. He asked why IT continued to promise the moon, but could not get off the launching pad. As I interviewed stakeholders within the organization, I quickly discovered a primary cause of the underperforming project …

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