Remembrance Day Reflection : “Fear is a Reaction. Courage is a Decision”

Sir Winston Churchill once said, “Fear is a Reaction. Courage is a Decision.”

Such a statement makes me appreciate more of our fallen heroes. The awesome pride and inspiration they brought to those who survived strengthened the resolve of all freedom-loving people of the world. Quite clearly, nations remembering their fight to preserve liberty for future generations make all emotionally happy. We are all fortunate recipients of their ultimate sacrifice. God bless their souls!

In today’s modern world, courage has taken a variety of forms in pursuit of certain subterfuge goals. Sadly, unbeknownst to many, they’re being led as sheeps to a slaughter. As a reflection, let us all be vigilant! We need to open our eyes, ears, and mind before making any life-changing decision, especially something that might adversely affect our nation and the world. Make it doubly sure that we are after something real, based on truths and goodness.

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The Risk Manager’s Poem (Children’s Book for Risk Managers)

I have always wanted to write about risk-based management principles in a poetic form. The uncanny characteristic of a poem to send the intended message with amazing clarity catches our senses so that we suddenly become more receptive. We listen more and even unconsciously let down our guard. Our biases disappear to consider the intended message.

Today, I am happy to share some segments of that original 18-stanza rhyme poem of (8-6-8-6 metric). The poem wants to present the fundamental concepts of risk in simple terms that even children can understand.

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What’s your pet EAC formula?

Project forecasting provides useful insights on the final cost. As such, along the way, as you periodically progress the project, you’ll want to know and re-assess the Estimate at Completion. It gives all a glimpse of the possible outcome that boils down to the project’s probability of a successful outcome or failure. I know of no singular formula to calculate EAC because there were several of them.

Being a risk manager himself/herself, a project management professional’s task is to improve the project’s predictability, enabling the project to make an accurate forecast whenever needed. In this, high quality inputs, recording vital information, data monitoring, administrative controls, and analysis are critical to achieve a successful forecast from which informed decision can emanate. Project cost projection (EAC) has to be based more on facts than assumptions to be useful! One must avoid the temptation of even thinking that forecasting as just a good guess, a gut feel, and/or a number exercise!

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What about SCHEDULE DANGLERS?

Open ends are great indicators of missing scope/s, incomplete and/or missing planning inputs. The solution is to tie all valid network activities in the right sequence, according to the approved project execution plan and path of construction.
A good schedule is a well-tied schedule and a well-tied schedule signifies complete scope.
Source: Frago, R. (2015/2017).Plan to Schedule, Schedule to Plan.ISBN 978-0-9947608-2-1.Canada.

A recent query from a colleague inspired me to write this short article on the subject of danglers, i.e. schedule danglers. I hope my humble insights will be useful.

Open start danglers are activities where the only predecessor is either Finish-to-Finish or Start-to-Finish, resulting in an open start to the activity. They are also known as “dangling activities.”

The number of activities with open start (danglers) should be zero.

The project scheduler should use Start-to-Start and Start-to-Finish links sparingly. Tie each activity end completely and properly to avoid danglers.

Read the full article by clicking the hyperlinked button below.

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Effective P6 Administration by Improving Primavera Security through Correct Management of the Responsible Manager Code (RMC)

Project’s request to restrict access of other Users to their project schedules & portfolios seemed to have failed. Unauthorized access remains a problem. Contractors working concurrently in the same database were able to sometime see the client’s schedule and modified certain critical attributes despite the security protocol being enforced. Worst of all, one schedule was completely deleted by someone and have to be recovered from the back-end by the Database Administrator through the existing back-up and recovery protocol.

Dorothy was checking Marco’s security access because he couldn’t add resources and found that all his projects have the Responsible Manager’s Code set to the Contractor’s OBS code. She figured that Marco might have used the contractor’s original schedule as a starting project file in developing his project schedule.

Back in June 2010, Primavera User John and Mark had put together a schedule that sat on the back burner while the Project team worked on other priorities. When it came time to set the baseline, John and Mark decided to do a quick check to make sure nothing had changed. Mark hit the F9 button and about 80% of the activities moved to the right. The dates moved by 4 to 20 days.

The two of them checked the calendar they were using but they were fine. The Primavera database Administrator checked who else was using the calendar and the schedule and found that only John and Mark were given direct access to this schedule.

John now went back to the schedule, changed some lags and logics trying to correct the schedule discrepancies. The effort took more than a day to complete, time which the project really do not have. What has gone wrong?

Find out what happened. Read the full article by clicking the hyperlinked button below.

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Typical Attributes of a Phantom Schedule

Some of the typical attributes of a Phantom Schedule are as follow:

1) Secret (unknown to the other contracting party)

2) It is a simplified version of the contract schedule

3) Considered more reliable and accurate

4) Viewed as a validation schedule that provides better forecasts5.

5) Updated in the background by sponsoring party

6) Decision-making tool by sponsoring party. Management decisions are no longer based on the forecast of the current contract schedule.

Read more… know more!

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What is the Purpose of a Phantom Schedule?

A client or contractor may develop it individually with each one, believing that it is more reliable than the current official schedule and/or the existing baseline.

Construction contractor can come up with a more aggressive version of the contractual schedule to create some form of relief time zones. It creates some form of time buffer zones by using earlier schedule plan dates. The sub-contractor then sign on a more optimistic schedule with the contractor.

The contractor hides the already optimistic phantom schedule for background update. At this point, and just on the contractor-subcontractor side alone, there are already four schedules at play and being maintained separately; i.e. 1) subcontract schedule, 2) subcontract phantom schedule, 3) contractor phantom schedule, and 4) contract schedule.

A recent technical article rightly stated the same thing, that one of the reasons why a phantom schedule is developed is “when the client no longer has any faith that the contractor’s contract schedule submittals are realistic (Beisler, S. & Zack, J., 2016.Cost Engineering. May\Jun 2016. p21).

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How about understanding your Project’s Schedule Critical Path better?

Critical Path is a measure of schedule flexibility, discernable through each activity total float. On any network path, flexibility is the positive difference between early and late dates (PMI, Project Risk Management, 2013). It is the shortest time possible for a project to finish.

“Be careful of relative critical path. This is the critical path relative to some select points of constraint only.”

“The path it generates does not represent the overall project’s critical path. The real overall critical path of the schedule is one generated by the calculation of a schedule that has no constraint, a schedule that flows freely.

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Book-signing Promo Event, at Dana Point, CA a success!

My apprehension that the small group who attended that evening might not show any interest on the subject was unfounded. The ensuing discussions were lively and fruitful. There was excitement in the air, gasps of discovery in each turn, and a promise from the audience to read and promote my work. This small, simple book-signing event was fun and successful. This was first this year since my last book-signing at Indigo Hills, Calgary two years ago.

Topic of the evening: We are all risk managers! Risk management is the only thing we do for a living, the very reason why our company or client pays us, the reason why we go to work every day. We manage risk even as we prepare to go to sleep, to increase probability that we wake up the next day healthy and refreshed. The amazing thing is, we don’t even realize it!

In this sense, we are all risk managers as we support our very existence. We survive each daily rigors because we are already unconsciously competent of what we do through years of experience and training.

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PM Solution Pro participated in the AACE Dinner Meeting, “Proactive Trend and Change: Avoiding the Iceberg Effect.”

Risk is about the future. Imagine that from “NOW” (the present) and the future state, there is a timeline. The time duration to the future has to have a value. Threat and Opportunity is about the future. There is no additional sense saying future risk. Saying so is redundancy.
Reliability of work data increases over time, and it signals the right time for full integration. Reliability is a result of data maturity. Good integration results in an effective risk-based project execution, the execution that makes most sense. While the acquisition of good quality information is always in progress, the risk specialist and each team member should strive to help the project manager identify and highlight critical elements needed for success. Always remember that risks must be identified before they can be managed. Risks cannot be identified if no information or indicator relating thereto exists. Unknown risks cannot be managed.

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