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30 November 2005

Project Risk Management

Neville Turbit from Project Perfect has another useful article on project risk management on his website. It's a 3 minute introduction to the key risk management concepts you need to know when managing a project.

2 November 2005

What Makes a Thought Leader?

Clearly it requires some deep, specialized but un-myopic subject-matter expertise, some right-brain core competencies, an extremely broad range of interests and readings, and networks and tools that filter and feed the fire hose volume of daily news and information into a manageable stream.

Dave Pollard suggests three main Thought Leadership styles, which depend on individual temporal orientation and knowledge processing behaviour:

  • Guru: Exceptionally innovative yet practical.
  • Visionary: Future-oriented, able to 'think people ahead'.
  • Facilitator: Canvasses and synthesizes others' perspectives and points of view.
Dave's article discussing these ideas can be found at How to save the world.

Project Managers and Entreprenuership

The relationship between project management and entrepreneurship interests me because

  • It seems to me that entrepreneurship is an inherently risky business, and
  • Project management has a strong focus on risk management

Taking a project management approach to entrepreneurial activities seems to me a practical and sensible way to improve a venture's chance of success.

However, a challenge lies in the personality profiles of many project managers who are the sorts of people who want as much information as they can get and want to plan things maybe beyond what entrepreneurial ventures can sustain. Many PMs seem risk averse, and interested in ensuring they have buy in and support from sponsors and key stakeholders.

Entrepreneurship involves a lot of uncertainty and few stakeholders who are interested in the details of your plan (apart from the money people maybe - but even then, how much detail are they looking for?) In a new business start-up for example you can only plan so far before you just have to go do it.

The Quality Digest

Quality Digest lists a number of highly influential Quality advocates.

Visit it this list here.

Or browse the magazine's latest articles.

Who is Juran?

"It is most important that top management be quality-minded. In the absence of sincere manifestation of interest at the top, little will happen below." - Joseph M. Juran

Juran's visit[s to Japan] marked a transition in Japan's quality control activities from dealing primarily with technology based in factories to an overall concern for the entire management. The Juran visit created an atmosphere in which QC was to be regarded as a tool of management, thus creating an opening for the establishment of total quality control as we know it today. The process of developing ideas has been a gradual one for Juran. Top management involvement, the Pareto principle, the need for widespread training in quality, the definition of quality as fitness for use, the project-by-project approach to quality improvement—these are the ideas for which Juran is best known, and all emerged gradually. In Juran's philosophic approach there is an implicit recognition of the need to communicate.

Juran expropriated the Pareto principle and applied it to business, and in particular to quality systems.

About IMAP

Breaking down information into digestible parts is often a challenge. I discoverred this short page on IMAP - Information Mapping. It has a neat rollover gif demonstrating the benefits of chunking infomation into components.

The overall process of Information Mapping consists of three major steps: analysis, organization, and presentation.

  • The Analyse step looks at what type of information is to be presented, what are the audience's needs and what are your goals in presenting the information?
  • The Organize step looks at procedures or steps in the process, the hows, whey and whats etc of the process, how the process is structured, discussions of the concepts around the process, business rules, classifications and physical characteristics of items in the process.
  • Presentation includes chunking—Is all the information broken down into non-divisible chunks? Labelling—are all chunks of information assigned an appropriate label? Relevance—is everything within a chunk of information essential to the audience's needs? Hierarchy—are hierarchical labels consistently applied to tell readers where the have been and where they are going?