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Book Review: “A Short Guide to Operational Risk”

David Tattam’s ‘A Short Guide to Operational Risk’ fits into a series of Short Guides about risk published by Gower. The series is planned to comprise around 15 books, addressing risk management topics as diverse as Climate, Fraud, Kidnap and Ransom, and Tax Risk. The Short Guides series aims to provide an easily digested, 100 page introduction to each subject. Although this book exceeds that page count by a considerable margin, it provides a thorough, detailed guidance and discussion of its subject whilst retaining an easily assimilated style. Tattam provides a context for risk management in terms of regulation and guidance through a critique of the Basel II regulatory framework, and basing the characteristics of risk management processes around ISO 31000. Much of the book shows clear themes from Tattam’s background in banking and accountancy, though he extends the ideas successfully into other operational domains. Read More »

CAREERS ADVICE POD: Delivery, PMOs, and Job Interview Presentations

If you’ve ever faced the spectre of making a presentation at a job interview, this is the podcast you’ll need to listen to. If you’ve ever pondered life in a project delivery role or monitoring from PMO sidelines, this is also the podcast you’ll need to listen to. Image courtesy Arenamontanus @Flickr, re-used with permission. The Careers Advice Podcast from Arras People tackles issues and notions faced by those searching for new roles in Project & Programme Management each month. Today, Lindsay Scott tackles two questions fired in by our readers: I’m currently working within a Programme Management Office (PMO) and I’m undecided about where to take my career – stay within PMO or move into a project delivery role. What are the pros and cons of each? Read More »

Book Review: “Benefits Realisation Management”

Gerald Bradley has been involved in Benefits Realisation Management (BRM) since the 1980s. His company specialises in providing services to support and train for BRM at all levels within organisations. The 2nd Edition of Bradley’s Benefits Realisation Management is set up to explain BRM in detail and how it relates to Projects, Programmes and PMOs. Bradley suggests early in the book that many organisations have a simplified view of BRM. To many organisations, benefits are something required in order to justify project initiation. This ripples through to an eventual top-slicing of future budgets reflecting the numbers set out in the Business Case. This leads to a situation where in order to get a project signed off, the benefits are overstated, but when the project is complete there are fewer benefits to be seen. Bradley also states that too many benefits are expected from ‘enabler’ projects, and that this practice should be reduced. Mark Twain felt it necessary to inform the public that reports of his death had been greatly exaggerated. As Dave Sawyer writes in his review of Gerald Bradley’s “Benefits Realisation Management”, we tend to exaggerate the benefits that a project can offer in order to get the project signed off. Image courtesy of dnhoshor @Flickr, re-used with permission Bradley suggests an alternative viewpoint. Rather than using benefits to justify what may initially be the most obvious solution, benefits analysis should be thoroughly carried out as the perceived need often does not match the actual user requirement. When done correctly, BRM highlights how organisational change can be focussed on the areas that need it most. Read More »

Social Media and the “Cloak of Invisibility”

It almost seems to be a weekly occurrence that some celebrity, politician or sports star is putting their reputation, or career at risk with some ill-advised comment on one social network site or another. Freedom of speech is one thing, but as many have realised, it isn’t always free of consequence. I am sure we can all bring to mind stories where comments on Twitter have resulted in major headlines, resignations, suspensions, fines and threats of legal action. For instance, in 2010, Labour candidate Stuart MacLennan was removed from standing because of a number of tweets where he referred to old people as coffin dodgers, and insulted David Cameron and Nick Clegg. The icing on the cake was this particular tweet : “ God this fair-trade, organic banana is s**t. Can I have a slave-grown, chemically enhanced, genetically modified one please? Read More »

Gender Breakdown on World Events & Innovation

We spent the January issue of Project Management Tipoffs deciphering how specific generations of project management practitioner cited the very first events in popular culture that shaped our lives, with particular regard for World Events and Innovation. The results were culled from early returns on the 2013 Project Management Census – which, if you haven’t done yet, you can still take ! Some categories that were prominent in the early years of a person’s life shaped what categories were most commonly cited for that generation. It was more likely, for instance, that a Baby Boomer (those born between 1946 and 1964) would cite an Assassination than would a Millenial (born from 1981 and 2002), as the JFK and John Lennon killings held a significant amount of sway with our respondents. Likewise with innovations, a television-related development was going to carry a significant amount of influence on Baby Boomers, much more so than the Millenial who’s known it all of their life and might even equate it as one of life’s staples. Today’s post tackles what influence gender has on these responses. INNOVATION There are certain assumptions we have going in with gender in all walks of life, and the Census has been no different so far, as the results below show. Innovations offered more often by Men included those related to Computers, Engineering and Television, whilst Women pointed out events related to the Internet, Telephone Communications, Music, Recording and – surprisingly – Gaming & Consoles Read More »