Author: Ananth Natarajan

The “Mirage of mitigation” in project management

As Project Managers, we sooner or later learn the significance of managing risks in a project. We get good at identifying risks that impact project goals and figuring out mitigation/contingency actions. We plan these mitigation actions diligently and make sure that those are done. However, sometimes, we fall into a trap that I call the ‘Mirage of Mitigation’. Let me illustrate from my personal experience. Many years ago, I was leading a project to develop a marketing application for a retail bank on a mainframe. One of the requirements was that a cross-selling message be displayed on the PC...

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CHOW #4– What are the risks in a project managed by a first-time Project Manager?

Rahul Shenoy (Rahul) was thrilled to hear the news that he had been promoted as Project Manager in his organization (“vSAPPERS”). His last project assignment was as a Business Analyst in a very successful SAP implementation project for a client in the U.K. In that project, his organization was a sub-contractor of Capgemini. Along with the news of his promotion, Rahul also came to know that his first project as a PM was going to be for a manufacturing organization in Pune planning to use the same SAP modules as he had worked on earlier for the U.K. customer. Rahul’s employer had taken up end-to-end responsibility for the Pune project. The Pune customer, not being very large, had wanted a simple out-of-the-box implementation of select modules of SAP (estimated at 24 person months over six months). As a result, Rahul’s manager Mohan Rao (based in the organization’s Head Office in Bangalore) considered the project simple enough for a first-time project manager like Rahul. Rahul was transferred to the organization’s Pune office which was just being set-up and Rahul had to form his project team selecting from other staff already located in the Pune office. The Pune customer was being serviced by the SAP office in Mumbai and SAP’s Account Manager Milind Rane was a good friend of Mohan Rao, Rahul’s manager in Bangalore. Rahul was looking forward to the...

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