Thursday, October 08, 2009

Project Risk Management

Project Risk Management

Having planned the time, cost, quality and risks of your project, is there any impact on your objectives? What re-negotiation of the objectives is necessary with key stakeholders?

Impact of time planning elements: The realities of research planning are catching up with me. There would be few opportunities to work independently of a stakeholder led PhD project other than full-time in nature as my scope requires adjustment to real world standards which I am learning through this course and the realities my classmates appear to be facing.

Impact of cost planning elements: I had to reduce my self-appointed hourly consulting rates by 20% to realistically acquire annual budget resources potentially available. It pains me to make such an adaptation because I see it as a concession to the limitations of research funding evident in the systematic adoption of financial standards - which on the surface - appear to provide no obvious accountability measures for their allotments. I have been taught never to concede in business negotiations without receiving or demanding a reciprocal concession in return. For all of my costs and budget plans I should be able to observe those measures of funding allocations on a fully transparent level considering the best-practices approach I would like to fully integrate into my proposal. Otherwise I might suspect negotiations in bad faith.

Impact of risk planning elements: Attempting to minimize sacrificial income and opportunities costs and losses, I realize there is a trade-off but the net benefit of pursuing a research PhD might in fact be a negative proposition in terms of costs versus benefits analysis. To see a potential and reasonable doubling of income at the conclusion of PhD studies might be delayed or extended an additional two to three years beyond completion of the project itself whereby a sufficient number of published and peer-reviewed articles based upon it could be offered as evidence of competency necessary for the most lucrative research and teaching contracts in the USA. Failure to acquire sufficient funding to minimize opportunities costs would be the most significant risk factor with the potential to shut-down the project completely. Already approaching my forties would I perhaps see better returns on investment simply in mutual funds, indexed bond market funds and other generally applied business investment options? So far my goals in studies have been to make them pay for themselves and at a moderate level of risk.

Renegotiation of objectives: If the stakeholders are amenable to my objectives it would be based on my ability to “sell them” on the novel and unique approach of my research proposal which at the same time requires reorganisation based on the careful tutelage and recommendations of our instructor Gillian White at UTS. For example, I need to reorder assumptions and constraints in line with objectives, provide possibly fewer key focus points in the research objectives to ooze "inkily" with clarity and credibility.

How will you manage the risk you have identified with the highest priority?

Possibly I am the greatest risk to my own project? A Canadian building an Australian educational portfolio acquired while working in the UAE, cramming in OZ and returning to Korea and focusing a research proposal on an island nation called New Zealand? Is that particularly unique? Furthermore the refugee status of my humanities based undergraduate studies in the business world where roughly 80-90% of all business instructors originated should count par for the course where I have applied the precepts of international trade and business to my study and work experiences quite literally.

For example my current job appears to be up for further renewal and at four years in this position it is the longest term of paid employment in my working history. At the same time I am fully aware of this and each day feels like a step into the unknown beyond my generally term-contracted sense of employment. At the same time it sometimes feels difficult imagining working any where else. Even Professor Gugler in Switzerland recommends I remain here.

There might be more than a few Canadians who know exactly the kind of credibility I possess and demonstrate – stubborn persistence- is it grown from adaptations to forty below? I am perpetually unwilling to concede defeat tsomething I appear to share in common with my Korean employers. For a myriad of reasons I find cultural and economic barriers to personal growth greater in my own nation than many others which allows for opportunities of employment and experience with few global limitations as a reciprocal benefit of having few opportunities "at home."

My greatest risk is perhaps that of the approbation of nationally-based academics who often abhor the prospect of overseas work themselves and their perceived quality of my studies and work experiences at committee levels - perhaps a sense that I have failed to achieve acceptable goals.

On the contrary I feel blessed. I am one of the four out of ten people who get to work in the field of study for which they were prepared. For my MIB I didn’t pick UOW by accident. They are out there on the frontiers of international trade and business just the way I am completing contracts onward and upward offshore where the winds of challenge do often blow much stronger than in a cosy home port.

UOW was the longest running first entrant to the UAE market which impressed me. My online studies are sourced from the best of the pack: Concordia, Cornell, Notre Dame, and now fortunately QUT. This course is teaching me how to mitigate risks in this project proposal process and the biggest risk appears to be my credibility. Hard to believe I made the Dean’s List at UOW in 2004. I only found out a few weeks ago when I received a letter recommending me for doctoral research.

At the same time I may appear as simply an egg-head or a pseudo-intellectual no matter what self-improvement efforts I attempt to acquire. Being bald, I know I am not a scam artist. In Korea I appear to remain an asset especially if I keep learning, teaching and smiling.

So far.

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