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A world in which all projects succeed, but not without risk management

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I’m sure that APM members could, and do, argue for many hours about the concept of project success - what it means and whether it’s valid or even useful talk about it. 

On a similar vein I was part of a discussion at a Change Management Institute session in July where the popular myth that there is real evidence that 70% of all change initiatives fail, was exposed and debated.  At that session we discussed how most projects are at the same time both wildly successful and spectacularly disappointing, and everything in between, depending on the point of view of different stakeholders. 

Understanding stakeholder points of view is vital if we are to make good decisions when investing in project-based change, and then secure the delivery of those decisions. Nobody tends to argue with this point, but I am often surprised when the link between stakeholder engagement and risk analysis and management is not made.

When pulling together a business case and making the decision on how much to invest and when we need to understand perceptions of what is risky, and why. In order to guide and protect delivery we need to understand what might happen that could deflect us from plan, and we need to understand the uncertainties that exist when we are evaluating and making decisions in the light of emergent change.

If we need to understand stakeholder points of view and we need to understand perceptions of risk when planning a project, why have two conversations? Perhaps over the coming weeks you could observe how many opportunities there are to engage stakeholders and discuss risk in the same conversation.

APM North West Branch event - A world in which all projects succeed - but not without risk management - Monday 10th October 2016, Cheshire.


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  1. Richard Renshaw
    Richard Renshaw 10 September 2016, 08:36 PM

    I think from the world perspective good practice could be considered using International Standards, example 'Risk Management - Principles and guidelines' ISO 31000.From a national perspective I thought the following publication provides added value; a  world perspective I think you have to consider the international dimensions of culture. Whereas at a national level you would I suggest be subject to Government Rules and Regulations for Public Works Programmes and Projects.I wish you all good luck in your meeting on 10th October in Cheshire.RichardSunny Doha, Qatar 

  2. David Hillson
    David Hillson 08 September 2016, 02:28 PM

    You're right of course Ruth, and all four of these things matter and are inter-related. Sadly there seem to be turf wars between specialists in these specialisms, each saying that theirs is the most important and should take the lead. The outcome is often that we lose sight of the goal, namely business and prpject success. I'm sure you'll agree that it doesn't really matter what you call it or who takes the lead as long as someone does something to make a difference!