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February 2013
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In continued pursuit of productivity and ROI … what role does risk management really play?


2013 has started like a rocket – and an all sparks flying rocket if you're based on Australia’s eastern seaboard, with floods and fires up and down the country. Mesmerising initially, yet innately and insidiously dangerous.  It’s almost impossible not to be affected by events such as these, though I sincerely hope you, your families and colleagues have remained safe throughout our wild weather onslaught.

These natural disasters would definitely qualify as 'black swans' - "unprecedented, high impact events". Unfortunately, in the world of project management, there can also be black swans - events so critical that they can even affect the viability of the company. This is an interesting follow-on from our last update, which focussed on laying the foundations for increased productivity and ROI and, for anyone who knows me well, risk management is a subject very close to my heart.

I recently re-read a McKinsey study which highlights the importance of disciplined project management in avoiding these potentially catastrophic events. It offers some practical tips about how to assess risks and ensure that you avoid something going wrong.

On a potentially smaller scale, a risk that often faces project leaders is having a team that doesn't have the right skills to do the job. With that in mind, I wanted to share some tips that Jacqui Ross, our Change and Learning Manager, has put together about how to get the most from online training.

And speaking of going online, with so much focus on moving to 'the cloud' (and with our new PrescienceCloud™ solutions on offer!), the question we often hear is should we consider moving to the cloud, or are there interim steps? In the article included in this update, we highlight a few things to consider, and share some details of one of the low-risk options some of our clients have chosen.

Finally, on the subject of moving, we have recently relocated our Sydney team to North Sydney, so if you're in the area, do look us up.

I hope you find these articles of interest - I'd welcome your feedback. And if we can do anything to help you achieve the goals you have set for your business, we would love to hear from you.



Loretta Bayliss
Managing Director

The eternal challenge - on time, on budget, with benefits

It's the eternal challenge - delivering projects on time, on budget and achieving the expected benefits. With technology projects getting larger and affecting more facets of an organisation, the unfortunate fact is that if something goes wrong it can pose a risk to the company as a whole.

McKinsey recently published an interesting article - Delivering large-scale IT projects on time, on budget, and on value - which tackled the challenge of assessing the risk of  unprecedented, high impact events, often known as 'black swans'.

Their research suggested that half of all large IT projects “massively blow their budgets”. While most companies survive these cost and schedule overruns, 17% of IT projects fail terribly. And interestingly, these “black swans” occur more often among large IT projects than in other large scale projects, such as those in construction.

So how do you avoid those black pesky birds? We believe it comes down to the discipline of great project management - then again we would say that wouldn't we!

The article suggests that top performing projects focus on managing strategy and stakeholders, mastering technology and project content, ensuring team incentives are aligned with the overall goals of projects and excelling at core project-management practices.

They go on to say that if these dimensions exist in the project management office, it will lay the groundwork for establishing rigorous processes and quality checks, ultimately maximising the chance of an IT project delivering the expected value, on time and on budget.

If this is a challenge for your organisation, please get in touch as we would be very happy to share our experiences in this area.

10 tips to get the most out of online learning

As a project manager, there never seems to be enough time for training. Certainly if your experience is anything like ours, you move from one project to the next, often finishing one and starting another simultaneously. That means when you do make that commitment and schedule (pun intended!) time for training, you need to make sure it’s going to give you the knowledge and skills that you expect as quickly as possible.

Fast-paced and more mobile lifestyles are changing the way that people learn; we want to be able to access training when and where it suits us. The world of project management is no exception.

And there are a plethora of options. The prevalence of digital devices, such as tablets, has prompted a 40% increase in the popularity of online enterprise training (as reported in the 2012 Digital Learning for Business report by the ILX Group). But all online training is definitely not the same!

Prescience recently released a suite of online Primavera training so we thought it might be helfpul to share some of our tips for making the most of online learning. We would also love to hear any of your tips, so please email us.

To cloud, or not to cloud?

In recent times, ‘cloud’ - and SaaS in particular - has become a bit of a buzz word. 'The cloud' is a great option but like any technology solution, you have to make sure it’s fit for purpose. Do you need to share information in real time? Are the latest software upgrades critical? Can your IT team administer it? What about adding new users?

The short answer is that all these things can be addressed. But of late, we've seen some clients choose a slightly different path - hosting solutions like Primavera off-premises but not necessarily adopting SaaS because they want more flexibility, control and customisation.

So if you want to move toward 'the cloud' but aren’t sure about taking the full leap to SaaS, review these pros and cons. Our team is more than happy to have a conversation about the options, so please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Prescience's Sydney office relocates

Our Sydney team has moved into new premises in North Sydney. This new location provides great facilities for our staff, as well as a central, spacious and contemporary environment in which to meet our clients and to conduct our customised face to face training courses.

Our telephone number remains the same, but our new address will be Level 13, 8-20 Napier Street,  North Sydney NSW 2060. Any correspondence should still be addressed to our Red Hill offices.

In case you missed it ...
  • State of the Mining Sector in Qld: Each quarter, the Qld Mining Council releases a state of the sector report. In the December edition, their CEO sentiment index revealed some interesting trends, including a softening of concerns relating to skills shortages.
  • Top 10 priorities for CIOs, as we head into 2013. This Forbes article reflects the collective wisdom of Wall Street CIOs. What's your take?
  • Lessons in Project Management: While the new year is well and truly underway, one of the most thought-provoking 'year in review' blogs we saw was by Adeline Teoh from Project Manager online blog. She reviewed some of the 'memorable moments' from 2012 and found some project management lessons in some unusual places.
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