Published here April 2016

Preface | Executive Summary | Introduction | Expansion of the Term Project Management
The Project Management Timeframe | Project Risk and Success | Conclusion

Project Risk and Success

A not unreasonable question to ask at this stage is: What is the point of it all, and where do "Risk" and "Success" fit in, the two most challenging hurdles for the project manager?

The management of project risk has evolved over several decades into a major industry, with an extensive array of risks having been identified and how to deal with them. However, in our view, there are two basic risks that weigh far above all the others, and that are not always even mentioned. These are:

  1. The first risk is the risk to project success through failure to apply appropriate project management tools and techniques to the conduct of the project through its life span.
  2. The second is the risk to product success through failure to create a product that delivers the required performance, works well, and with which the clients and customers are satisfied.

Of the two, we believe that the second is by far the more serious. Our thinking is that for most projects, that is, with the exception of certain types of product,[16] time and cost failures will eventually be buried in previous years reports and documentation. However, Quality shortcomings in the product will be evident and felt throughout its life.[17]

The matrix diagram shown in Figure 1 illustrates the potential for project/product failure through failure of either or both Product Methodology and Single Project Management.

Figure 1: Project Management vs. Product Development - The Likelihood of Success Matrix
Figure 1: Project Management vs. Product Development
The Likelihood of Success Matrix

Notes: "Success" in project management has many dimensions, but for purposes of Figure 1:

  1. Project Management Success means: Project objective, i.e., product delivered on time, within budget, and hence carefully tracked, as well as scope changes carefully controlled and documented.
  2. Product Success means: Product performance delivered as required, works well and clients and customer satisfied.
The Project Management Timeframe  The Project Management Timeframe

16. The exceptions visualized here are any projects in which the delivery date is paramount, such as any prior announced public occasions or performances, or the delivery of any part that is tied to such a condition.
17. Unless otherwise reworked to conform to requirements.
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