Project Risk - Have you been a victim?
It is often thought that project management is a specialised skill and discipline that only applies to large corporate businesses or organisations undertaking restructuring, expansion, new product roll-out, major IT system upgrades or construction projects.

The reality though is that project management skills and processes are equally as important in a small and medium sized business environment. This will ensure that things don’t fall through the cracks, that everyone knows what is required of them and as a consequence the risk associated with the specific activity is considerably reduced. Badly implemented and mismanaged projects, project over runs and delays can cripple a small or medium sized business.

Lessons learned from past projects must be documented. Inter-dependencies also have to be factored in and need to be managed carefully. Scope creep is always a risk which can lead to project delays and major cost over-runs.
A good example of these are the many IT system upgrades and web site re-write projects undertaken by smaller businesses.

• they enter into the projects with a referred/recommended service provider /developer whose risk they have not assessed (often a one man band/ limited project track record/no resources/unknown financial standing)
• there is no clearly set out and documented project plan but largely a few e-mails and a verbal agreement around what is required and a price
• the project deliverable and scope is not clearly defined
• there is no governance around the project and very little over-sight
• measurables and mile-stones are vague and not defined
• scope creep and over-runs are the order of the day
• project meetings and progress measurement never take place
• version control, back-up of work in progress to an escrow site and development security is not considered
• the service provider/developer has no business continuity plan or back up option if they fall ill or are faced with some conflicts, time or resource constraints
• service providers/developers take up other more lucrative work or assignments mid-way leaving an uncompleted project and unfinished deliverables
• source code or data is lost along the way, customer service is disrupted and systems have to be restored or backed out
• the new system or upgrade delivers far below what was expected and anticipated
• there is no transfer of knowledge or skill
• there is little or no recourse to anyone

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