Forums Managing Risk in Complexity SIG
(MRC SIG)
Working Group A: What practical, useful risk tools and methods are available that can help project managers to visualise and understand complex interconnected risks and their implications?

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  • Richard Barber
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    Hi Everyone,

    A draft agenda for the Working Group A meeting is attached.

    Davin will be facilitating because I will not available, so this is a good chance for others to grab hold of the topic.   Please feel free!

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    Richard Barber
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    Hi Everyone,

    We have submitted a ‘report’ from the MRC SIG as a whole, to be included in the Connect Magazine.

    The meeting notes from the Working Group A meeting on 8th Sep are attached.

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    Richard Barber
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    Its time to provide a quick update to ICCPM members about the MRC SIG and its Working Groups.

    Attached is a draft report.  We have to provide it to the magazine editor ASAP.  We are keen to get comments from SIG Members on the report BUT we need those comments within the next day or so.

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    Richard Barber
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    Attached is the rather busy agenda for the Working Group A meeting on Wed 8th Sep.

    See the later version of the agenda.  It includes some of the results of the surevy of ICCPM Fellows.

     

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    Richard Barber
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    Attached is the rather busy agenda for the Working Group A meeting on Wed 8th Sep.

     

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    Richard Barber
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    Here are the notes from our last meeting (18th Aug).  Please use them to review or to catch up with the discussion.  The agenda from that meeting includes the slides etc referred to in the notes.

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    Richard Barber
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    Here are the notes from our last meeting (18th Aug).  Please use them to review or to catch up with the discussion.  The agenda from that meeting includes the slides etc referred to in the notes.

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    Richard Barber
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    Also as promised, here is an updated document showing the attributes of effective approaches, methods and tools.   I’ve collated it under a smaller number of characteristics for ease of use.

    Please feel (very) free to comment, add to, udpate the document prior to the next meeting (Wed 18th Aug).

    (Note:  Since I first posted this, I’ve updated the attachment to Version 2 and then to Version 3)

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    Richard Barber
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    As promised in our last meeting, here is a short document described Essentiual Capabilities Mapping.

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    Richard Barber
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    Please see attached the meeting notes for Working Group A from 28 July.  My aplogies for taking so long to get them out.   Topics discussed include:

    • The scope of ‘risk management’ work
    • Our Working Group A Task
    • Systems Dynamics Modelling (SDM)
    • Essential Capability Mapping
    • Criteria for effective risk approaches, methods and tools

    Please review the notes and feel free to comment, adapt, discuss, challenge!

     

     

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    Davin Shellshear
    SIG Chair
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    Hi Group A,

    I thought it may be useful to keep in mind that sources of complexity in projects arise from multiple sources. The interconnectedness of risks is a source that Group A has discussed in some detail, and effective tools exist to consider these sources, ranging from risk mapping and relationship mapping through to visualisation tools such as those developed by Predict, and the interesting new tool under development by Shree. There are other areas of project management (such as complexity in schedule) where further development of these types of tools could be valuable.

    There are also other sources of complexity and I would point to the work of Ralph Stacey and others in developing theories of Complex Responsive Processes, and Saarinen and Hämäläinen who are exploring theories of Systems Intelligence. The bottom line here is that people, their interactions and their behaviours are a significant source of project complexity, and this requires different thinking and different tools. The unpublished paper shared by Richard ‘Project Management as a Profession: Challenging the Paradigm’ included some interesting thoughts in this direction. Tools are also needed to enable thinking and awareness in the space of people and their behaviours, hopefully providing some means of qualifying and quantifying the potential impact these sources of complexity can have on projects.

    My thinking is that we need to look at how to  integrate tools so we can draw on the understandings and power of each tool to create a more effective systemic view. In short, not looking at this tool v that tool, but how we might collaborate and create more effective outcomes by combining tools as appropriate. For example, I have found that the risk maps developed by Richard have helped me to make behavioural risk easier to visualise, understand and discuss.

    Are there other sources we also need to consider?

    Cheers

    Davin Shellshear

    Richard Barber
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    Hi.

    I hope you can attend the Working Group meeting this Wednesday at 5:30pm.   See the attached agenda for detail of the topics for discussion – AND please feel free to bring along additional topics.

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    Richard Barber
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    Shree Lakshmi joined one of our recent meetings to discuss her PhD research and the software being developed for project visualisation.

    Shree has asked us to post the link below, to her PhD survey of risk tools used in complex projects.   I am sure she will appreciate people completing the survey.

    Hi Richard,

    Richard Barber
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    Thanks for suggesting iThink, Davin.

    It remind me that there was a time where I used systems dynamics modelling tools (such as iThink, and Powersim) as a consultant – to simulate complex organisational systems.   I haven’t done that for quite a few years now.

    An example that comes to mind is a training system for Navy apprentices, for high-tech jobs such as sonar technicians in submarines.  There are many challenges in training small numbers of highly skilled people where the training takes years of development.  If you only have 20 or 30 roles needing those skills, how many need to be trained to allow for people leaving, failing the training etc?   What happens to that training pipeline if there is a sudden change because the Navy buys more submarines?  Training these people is very expensive – how does that change the decsions that need to be made.
    Do others have experiences with dynamic modelling of complex human systems?   I’ll add “Dynamic Simulation Tools” into our group conversation.   
    Dr Richard Barber
    Davin Shellshear
    SIG Chair
    @davin-shellshear
    Post count: 103
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    Hi Group A

    To date we have been looking at tools to assess complexity in projects, so I am wondering if the group is also interested in what to do after we have identified the nature of project complexity. As mentioned in the last meeting, tools have been developed that consider the impact of complexity on schedule and cost.

    Group B has clearly come to the view that a major source of complexity in projects is people and their behaviours. Of course, the ICCPM’s model for project complexity, and a number of similar models from other sources identifies a range of sources of project complexity, normally including social/ cultural or some equivalent as one of those sources.

    I would like to suggest that once we work forward with the reality of a complex project, a key part of any approach is likely to involve the project team being able to collaborate with each other, the client, stakeholders, etc. To this end, I am wondering if everyone is aware that an ISO standard has been developed for collaboration business relationships ISO 44001, followed by ISO 44000 Principles for successful collaborative business relationship management, and more recently guidelines for small to medium sized businesses ISO 44003. This discussion raises the question of what do I mean by collaboration, so I though I would append a small table that shows the gradation from ‘Command and Control’ through to Collaboration.

    The Institute for Collaborative Working in UK (ICW) has been a major force behind the development of this standard, and earlier behind BS11000 which was the earlier British standard.

    For your interest

    Cheers

    Davin Shellshear

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