Payson Hall is a consulting project manager for Catalysis Group, Inc. in Sacramento, California. Payson consults on project management issues and teaches project management. Email Payson at [email protected]. Follow him on twitter at @paysonhall.
Risk management is identifying, analyzing, mitigating, and monitoring risks to a project. Humans do this all the time with life experiences, so there are parts of risk management that come naturally to us. What needs to be learned is recognizing our biases and limits to our visualization. Ask these questions to help.
Project managers recommend how much should be invested to address various risks based on their understanding of project context, but the final decision about what to do and when those efforts are sufficient belongs to the sponsor. Risk management requires executive input, so sponsors need to see all risk data you have.
Conforming team performance evaluations to a tidy bell curve is a simple, quantitative solution to the challenging problem of rating employee performance. However, it doesn’t work. It’s unrealistic (not to mention counterproductive) to force-fit employee evaluations to the curve when that doesn't reflect their work.
When development is outsourced, a documented baseline of expected functionality sets expectations for both the client and developer. Acknowledging that agile practices are flexible, beware the trap of rushing requirements just because you know they are going to change. It's still essential to be as accurate as you can.
Inspiring quotes can be motivating, but there's more to good leadership. New leaders may feel compelled to find clever and memorable things to say, when in reality, they should probably focus less on what they’re saying and more on what they’re hearing. The best leaders ask good questions and listen to the answers.
Technology allows amazing innovations to optimize business and deliver new and better services, but if you don’t carefully consider your entire user community, innovations may cost you business. When designing for stakeholders, don't stop at the obvious cases—or else you may find that you forgot an important customer.
Scope, schedule, and resources: Whether you’re using agile or more traditional project management approaches, this triple constraint is the law of the project universe. The unmentionable “third rail” of project management trade-offs is compromising quality to deal with the other two aspects. Don't make that an option.