Wednesday, October 2, 2013

PMI Sydney Talk - Risk Energetics

I attended a very interesting and inspiring talk hosted by the PMI (Project Management Institute) on 19th September 2013. I would highly recommend anyone involved in project based work to attend future PMI events.

I captured a couple of quotes that were the highlights of the talk for me below, but to get the full environmental energy and experience you'll have to attend next time!

The event was titled "Risk Energetics" with the very well presented speaker Dr David Hillson. More information can be found on Dr Hillson's website -

This quote is one of the more common excuses for not dealing with risk management.
"I'm too busy to worry about things that might not happen! I've got to deal with what is happening".
It's very much an argument we have when under pressure, should we have a reactive or proactive approach? I expect we can all related to this and the difficulties associated when in different situations.

"Ability to manage risk is the difference between success and failure."
You could loosen the terms and say that the ability to manage risk is the difference between being thorough and complete AND potentially recklessly gambling or fingers crossed hoping! But certainly as a responsible project manager, even if the risk never eventuates, if you've failed to manage that risk (document, measure impact and likelyhold, plan mitigation, monitor and release), you've failed to project manage properly.

"Identify and plan response stages of risk planning require creativity."
This was very interesting about keeping energy levels up, attention focused and enthusiasm during risk planning workshops. Risk planning requires creativity and creativity requires motivated participants.

This is gold and does not really require much explanation...
"Some projects moonwalk. To moonwalk is the appearance of moving forward when actually moving backwards".

Dr Hillson promoted this book "Ruth Murray Webster - facilitating risk meetings" and ran through a few themes of resistance to risk and techniques to combat them.

Energy Sappers
- Risk process takes time and money.
- responses cost money
- it's just scare mongering
- too busy
- too late, my risks are built in
- it's just common sense

Common themes for team not engaging in risk management
- disinterest
- distraction
- disillusioned

Common solutions to promote risk management engagement
- education/explain
- focus
- demonstrate value

What can be done to Maintain levels of energy throughout the project. Renewable risk energy. Breaks, demonstrated value, education.

I loved one of the final quotes from the talk.
"The beatings will continue until the moral changes...".

Another that I was not so keen on around implementing change and change management (and I believe there was more context around it) was.
"Change the people. If that doesn't work, change the people"!

Inspiring talk as always. I look forward to the next one.

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