International Project Management Day 2019 online conference: Focusing On What Matters part 3

Once a year the International Project Management Day is a reason for International Institute for Learning to conduct an online conference. The 2019 theme: Focus on what matters. My third part of takeaways from keynote sessions and prerecorded videos on various related topics.

Complexity Dimensions that Impact Projects
Dr. Leon Herszon – Sr. VP of Global Enterprise Solutions, IIL separates complicated (interdependency impact can be predicted, you know what to do) and complex (impact not predictable, you don’t know what to do).

Traditional project management and cost estimations will not guarantee success in complex situations. Herszon conducted research and created a model with 15 complexity dimensions:

  • Budgetary constraints
  • Clarity of goals
  • Quality of communication
  • Degree of trust
  • Dependency and interdependency
  • Knowledge and experience
  • Organizational capability and maturity
  • Pace/Speed to market
  • Political influence
  • Product and Project size
  • Risk
  • Stakeholder interaction
  • Technology
  • Time frame (duration)
  • Uncertainty

The art of simplicity is a puzzle of complexity (Doug Hourton)

Instead of ranking you better create awareness of these dimensions using a subjective 1-4 level to each, resulting in a cobweb diagram. Follow guidelines for process improvement. You can read the whole paper Dimensions of project complexity and their impact on cost estimation online at or the Herszon, Leon (2017) The complexity of projects: an adaptive model to incorporate complexity dimensions into the cost estimation process, Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

Managing Risk on Agile Projects

Roy Schilling, Senior Agile Coach/Trainer, IIL, defines risk as anything uncertain that impedes progress, Examples shared next to risks to end up outside constraints on time, scope, and costs are:

  • unclear scope
  • unclear requirements
  • technical feasibility
  • single point of failure
  • building the wrong product
  • social risks (skills and relationships)
  • stakeholder engagement

Traditional approaches to managing risks include sign-offs, risk register, change management, and project status meetings. in Agile contexts, more adaptive approaches to managing risks are:

  • close stakeholder engagement
  • small, frequent deliveries
  • continuous feedback
  • adaptive planning
  • cross-functional, self-organizing teams
  • retrospectives
  • information radiators

Approaches for risk identification at the start of the project and throughout the project can still be used. The same goes for risk prioritization, planning and implementing risk responses, monitoring risks, and stakeholder engagement.

Managing risk is the key to hyper-productivity. Consider all forms of risk. Engage and infom. Aggressively manage risks and resolve impediments. Be Agile!

Blockchain for Project Management

Carla Fair-Wright – Program Manager, Link Technologies explains blockchain beyond the buzz. By 2027, 10% of GDP production and processing is stored on blockchain technology. Blockchain and distributed ledger technology are way more than cryptocurrencies. Public, private and consortium blockchain structures, and components (transaction, block, chain, node, miner, and consensus protocol) are elaborated.  Carla refers to Blockchain researcher and TED speaker Bettina Warburg.

Can it be integrated into project management? Carla sees possibilities in smart contracts with these benefits:

  • accuracy: automated contracts remove human error
  • speed: no manual processes
  • savings: economical, no middle man
  • autonomy: no reliance on third parties for confirmation
  • backup: documents are replicated
  • safety: cryptography
  • trust: encrypted documents on a shared ledger

That can be used for registering project work performance data:

  • phase-gates
  • task progress
  • team assignments
  • timesheets
  • procurement decisions

Is project management ready? Although project management itself evolves and requires a lot, especially on technology from the contemporary project manager, the blockchain / distributed ledger technology has challenges on immutability, hacking, trust, etc.

Make Better Project Decisions with Project Online
Cindy Lewis – Owner and Scheduling Expert, 4 Pillars of Success explains how Microsoft Project Online can help to answer questions on assigned resources, project status, and time management (meetings are a waste of time, usually).

Cindy demonstrates the functionality of the three versions (basic, professional, premium), including deep drilling, administering agile projects with a Kanban board, task board, and burndown charts.