Project ManagementRisk Management

The Ways You May Unintentionally Create Schedule Risks

Nobody sets out to make a project riskier than it already is, except perhaps Tom Sawyer in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Yet it still happens sometimes, mostly by accident. In a post at the Project Risk Coach, Harry Hall briefly describes a few ways you might inadvertently create schedule risks in your project.

Risk Creation

The first cause of risk is when you “crash the schedule”:

It’s always been funny to me that the Project Management Body of Knowledge uses the word “crashing” as a schedule compression technique. The term makes me think of an uninvited guest crashing a party, but with schedule management, the individuals are actually invited to the party. Project managers use crashing to shorten the schedule for the least incremental cost by adding resources, typically to the critical path. It can be a great technique — just be aware — crashing may increase your risk. Too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth.

Another source of risk is fast tracking a project by attempting to do some project activities in parallel. There will of course be many times where conducting parallel work turns out just great, but it depends on how contingent two pieces of work are upon each other. Ensure enough ongoing communication between the two entities performing parallel work that risk is mitigated. In general though, sequencing work properly will always require some foresight.

A third risk is when you ask for an extra resource but are assigned a person who is not qualified to help in the capacity you really need. Get more explicit about the type of extra resource you need in the first place to avoid this situation. And lastly, remember to baseline your schedules. There always needs to be a basis for comparison to weed out project uncertainties.

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