2008-09-25 0 1273

Risk Management Conference - Looking back

Just returned from the IQPC Project Risk Management Conference with Food for Thought and a Summary on all 4 days that I attended and participated in.


1) Masterclass by Kathleen  Kuryl

A very well conducted and facilitated Workshop by Kathy (President of the Tasmanian AIPM Chapter) and even if she was that nervous that she had to get up at 0530 in the morning you could see a thing of that . We got a lot of insights of the Project Methodology that has been put together by her and her team and is fully available on their website. The session was very much focused on the Risk Management component of the method itself. Kathy printed a lot of material and provided that as a hand out for the participants (overall around 7). The Masterclass was very intimate due to the fact that we just had a small audience like this and Kathy got a very good discussion going which helped us to understand how Risk Management is being applied by other industries. Another perception was that Government and Construction was very well represented in the Masterclass and in the overall conference. 

In the Afternoon we focused on a couple of areas. 

  • How to present a risk profile to various audiences like stakeholders, steering group members, team members etc. (will have another post on that soon)?
  • How to practical apply Risk Management in you day to day project management work?
  • How to facilitate a risk assessment with an immature audience?

Another good point, that was raised, was that Lessons Learnt that you do after a project or a phase / stage has finished should drive and influence future risk assessments. So a two page summary of the outcome of a lessons learnt session was recommended (1. Area of project to get the reader to understand if they run a similiar project, set the context etc.; 2. Circumstances and Situation the project was running in; 3. Scope of project; 4. The Lessons Learnt summary)

2) Two days of conference

11 presentations and two interactive discussions, and each one of them scheduled for 45 minutes, plenty of time and opportunities to network was the structure for these days. Around 50 to 60 participants and everyone of them actively working in the Project Risk Management area, in one or the other role.

The three presentation highlights for me have been

  1. Liam Wallace from ASC - about Comprehensive Risk Identification, Analysis and Planning
    Liam came across very knowledgeable and for sure coming out of a mature organisation where Risk Management is enforced and embraced. He has given us practical examples of risk registers, presentation options of risk profiles, their risk appetite and how they change the risk appetite according to the project. The "Heat Map" was definitely a very valuable tool that ASC is using to present risks to board members. He also referred to that how to identify risks constantly and how you can keep that simple. The slides have been great in a way they can be used for further reference, depending on how much he was allowed to put on the CD that was handed out.  
  2. Eddie Stewart from Newcastle City Council - about Applying Project Structure
    Eddie was talking about how Project Management Frameworks and Risk Management Strategies go together and his slides were just great as they provide a great reference to how the Newcastle City Council does Project Management and how they run projects and, most interesting, what projects they are running, which for somebody like me out of the private business environment was quite interesting. From an asset management side of thinks IT people often just think about PCs and Monitors and that such as assets, but for the City Council there are more than 70.000 trees and every tree is treated as an asset with additional information about size and age etc. Make sure you get a hands on the slides as they provide a good point of reference.  
  3. Rob Loader - Analysing the complexity of stakeholder management
    Rob was talking about the difficulties as well as critical success factors around Stakeholder Management in the context of risk management and was referring to the challenges how to understand your stakeholder, why you need to understand them and how. So referring to the question how you can understand a stakeholder that you never get exposed to he gave a couple of examples like waiting at the elevator until he shows up and give him the "elevator pitch" or wait for him at the car park near his car and give him the "car pitch" or just go and constantly ask for 15 minutes of his time. But clear advice was, you need to understand him and do everything to achieve that. His slides are another good point of reference. Clearly visible that Rob has done plenty of presentations in his career.

Regarding the interactive discussions about budget forecasting and software for risk management I dont know whether the delegates got much out of that. Haven't had and heard much feedback around that area, but at least the crowd was engaged and shared experiences to the audience. Which helped for the networking as you knew whom to talk to about specific topics.

3) The Workshop - How to Identify, Measure and Manage Risk Throughout the Life Cycle of the Poject

We had a couple of cases prepared for this conference plus a short introduction of the Diamond Model based on the book "Reinventing Project Management" by Aaron J. Shenhar and Dov Dvir and how it could be used as tool to start facilitating a risk assessment and to present a risk profile of a project. A great discussion we had, around the model its use and how different industries and their projects are related to the model and how the projects could be mapped with the model. After that we had another very good discussion around how to embed a simple risk process in your day to day work and how to present risks to various audiences and several great ideas got shared between the attendees. Again, a very intimate workshop which was probably the biggest asset as this helped to facilitate a good discussion and sharing of ideas amongst the participants. The area around how to present risks created so many ideas that i need to summarize them later on in a different post.

Bottom Line

I perception is that the concept of a boutique conference style focused on niche topics really works. You find your audience (Gavin Halling for example is selling a risk management tool and he cant get a better audience than this for selling it), you find your peers to talk about issues and getting ideas how to resolve them, you build your network to be able to be more successful in your role and depending on the topics and speakers you might get great content and knowledge you can walk away with. The only downside is, that the conference has a price which some might not be willing to or even cant afford. Thats why we havent seen many people out of IT and other industries beside Construction, Engineering and Government. So here is my advice, if you have your Company paying for it -> GO, if you do not or you cant afford it your self -> PRESENT as you are able to get to the conference for free.



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