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Book Review: PROJECT RISK PLANNING

By Ryan Leist, CMA, CPA, CGMA, CGFM
September 2, 2015
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Is it possible to manage risk? Uncertainty is intrinsic to working on a project, regardless of how you approach it. While completely removing all risks and uncertainty seems impossible, we can manage project risk if we understand its significant sources and take prudent actions to minimize failures and increase the chances of success. In Identifying and Managing Project Risk, Tom Kendrick draws on more than 35 years of project and program experience to provide proven methods for planning project risk.

 

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When approaching a new project, managers may believe there’s little to be learned from past projects and established techniques. Yet broad principles and techniques for both project and risk management have been used successfully for more than a century. As a reminder of this connection, each chapter concludes with a short description of how the principles discussed relate to the construction of the Panama Canal. It represents the single-largest project prior to the late 20th Century. The construction effort stretched over several decades and required multiple project leaders. The Panama Canal is a great example because it’s actually a story of two projects that took place during the emergence of modern project management. The first attempt to build the canal, in 1881, failed for many reasons, but a lack of project and risk management played a large part. The second attempt, in 1904, succeeded because of the rigorous and disciplined application of project management practices.

 

To learn from more recent projects, Kendrick has been conducting workshops and classes on project management for more than two decades. These gatherings allow him to collect anonymous data from project leaders on their past project problems, and he compiles it in his Project Experience Risk Information Library (PERIL) database. This information is used throughout the book to provide valuable examples to identify sources of risk and to provide practical responses to today’s challenges in project management.

 

The book is a great resource for new and experienced project managers because it reflects the most recent changes to the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) from the Project Management Institute. Kendrick is able to easily relate project management principles by using real-world examples and by showing how risk management relates to them, which makes the material both relevant and easy to understand. Kendrick also provides value to experienced project managers by giving dependable, repeatable tools and techniques for all conceivable types of risk at every point in managing a project.

 

 

Ryan Leist, CMA, CPA, CGMA, CGFM, is an accountant at the Farm Credit Administration. He’s also an IMA Member-at-Large. You can reach Ryan at ryanleist2@gmail.com.
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