Edmund Conrow's book, Effective Risk Management is a tour de force of project risk management in the field of government and large corporate project acquisitions. Although chapter 2 provides a summary, to obtain full benefit from the content we recommend first reading the US DOD Risk Management Guide for DOD Acquisition, in which Edmund had a significant hand.
For the majority of us involved in less sizeable projects, we found the aspirations of the book somewhat idealistic. Perhaps this is not surprising from the perspective of a project risk manager, but we could sympathize with project managers who feel that some of the recommendations are over kill or at least not cost-effective. If the decision to skip some recommendations is a conscious one, that's fine. If, however, it is by default, then as the author is at pains to make clear, such overkill would not be conducive to final project success. Clearly, "The material contained in this book must be tailored to your program ...".
This book is not for the feint of heart. Indeed, we think that considerable experience in the acquisition of services for large projects is required in order to benefit from the wisdom offered. In reading the book we found that many of the "considerations" presented were negative critiques of past programs or instances representing things that should not be done. Of course, that is valuable information for those in similar environments.
However, on many occasions other than to consult expert advice, we were left wondering what should have been done instead in the particular instances described. But perhaps we misunderstood a self-serving message.
We hope that perhaps a third edition of the book will correct the shortcomings that we have identified. Together with occupying about 30% less space, the book could then be of interest to a much wider audience.
R. Max Wideman
33. Ibid. p xxi.