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.

Continue Reading →

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.

Continue Reading →

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!

Continue Reading →

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.

Continue Reading →

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.

Continue Reading →

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).

Continue Reading →

The Phantom Schedule

A phantom schedule (ghost schedule) is a non-official schedule prepared behind the official scheduling scene. The timing of its creation can be anywhere between project start date to completion. The urgency governing its creation depends largely on the specific purpose and necessity to which it was created.

Continue Reading →

The Three Blind Project Managers and the Elephant

Oftentimes, the discussion on subjects such as risk has a tendency to turn into something more esoteric. When that happens, as a Risk Manager, we should appreciate the brilliance of some people’s individual premises, suppositions, commentaries, and conclusions, for they can add value and substance to what we already know.

There is an old tale about the three blind men who encountered an elephant for the first time and attempt to learn about it by touch alone. Somehow, I am now tempted to change the story to the three blind project managers who encountered risk for the first time and attempted to learn about it.

The story about the three project managers and a project is like the story of Jain’s parable of The Blind Men and the Elephant. The parable is quite relevant to what we are discussing here.

Continue Reading →