Back Now: Risk Management & New Role

 

Over the summer I finished reading Douglas Hubbard’s new book “The Failure of Risk Management: Why It’s Broken and How to Fisk It”.

I did also contribute a review  on the Amazon site (I sure you will be able to find it).

Needless to say I think he does a good job of arguing that many aspects of modern risk management are poor…The lessons for us in the world of Project Management are clear…

It also led me to discover how good our Oracle Crystal Ball product is for data analysis and performing Monte Carlo simulations.

 

Am now busy trying to apply this tool to our estimating models….more on this later.

My biggest surprise, having corresponded with the Douglas on a couple of his examples in this book, was to receive a call from him! 

I also completed reading Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable while we were on summer vacation in Brittany France. In combination with Hubbard’s book this was nothing short of a revolution in my thinking about risk and dealing with what we do not know.

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable

Brand New Role

A further development I should comment on (which partially explains my lack of updates over the summer months…)

As part of a wide ranging reorganization of our Oracle Consulting business in Europe I decided to fold my International Projects team back into the new Western Europe Applications Consulting organization.

WE Apps has been created by amalgamating the Oracle Consulting organizations in UK, Western Continental Europe and EMEA Divisional Consulting (my team was part of EMEA Div). 

This left me without a role.

Happily I was offered a role managing the delivery teams within the new WE Apps Managed Services line. I am very excited about the role as it is (again) an international role managing teams in the UK Netherlands extended with near- and off-shore folks in Malaga, Spain and Bangalore, India. It also gives me the opportunity to implement a number of the things I have been studying during the Spring and Summer months in the areas of (internal) program management and risk management.

In the meantime I will continue to comment on the Project Lifestyle….

Comments:

Andrew,

Great post on the book. As one working the risk management business for US Defense and NASA programs, here's some background that may be useful.

http://herdingcats.typepad.com/my_weblog/2009/09/revisiting-risk-management.html

The gaps described in the book review(s) are not always present in the Defense and Space programs for a simple reason. Programmatic and Technical risk management is mandated. With this mandate comes professional risk managers in the form of Safety and Mission Assurance, technical risk (systems engineering), and programmatic risk (program planning and controls - our area).

Thanks again for the link to the book.

Posted by Glen B. Alleman on September 30, 2009 at 02:05 PM CEST #

Hi Glen
Thx for the comment. By the way I did get both of them - the blog software captures them but I need to approve comments before they appear (still need to figure out how to flag frequent & genuine contributors like yourself so their comments are auto approved)

I think the point for me from both books is that despite the presence of a structural "professional" risk management function in many domains:
- the risk management models may not be as robust as they appear (healthy, emprical scepticism is a worthwhile trait) - (Hubbard)
- some significant risks may not even be included in the models at all (Hubbard & Taleb) The authors cite cases from the Financial Services and Casino (Hospitality?) industries where companies suffered major financial impacts from events that were not in their risk models (ie impact of off-model risks)

I would encourage looking at Hubbards book - as it would be a worthy addition to the list you posted on your blog (nice post by the way!)

Posted by andrew.sparks on October 01, 2009 at 01:23 AM CEST #

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Projects have become a lifestyle in business. Lets get good at them.

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