Project planning and risk management

Project planning and risk management – overview

Many organisations find that project teams struggle to create and maintain effective plans. Estimates are often overly optimistic and risks go unmanaged until the inevitable happens. Resource managers also find it hard to forecast the likely loading on their departments and requests for support are not provided in a consistent format. This programme has been developed to address these needs in a very practical, hands-on format. Case study work can be based on simulations or on the organisation’s current projects for maximum benefit to participants.

Full details below or download course outline.

Learning objectives

The aim of this training is to develop and enhance participants’ planning and risk management skills in order to maximise the success of project work undertaken by the organisation.

The principal training objectives for this programme are to:

  • Provide a structured, integrated approach to planning and risk management
  • Demonstrate practical tools and techniques for each stage of planning
  • Show how to organise and involve relevant people in the planning process
  • Explain how to use the plan for forecasting and pro-active project control
  • Identify ways to improve planning, both individually and corporately

The course will emphasise the importance of participative planning techniques that improve the quality of plans whilst reducing overall time and cost of planning.

The course will encourage discussion of internal procedures and practices and may be customised to include them if required.

Who should attend?

Typically, this programme will target the needs of a specific group such as technical staff, project leaders, project engineers or project managers. For maximum benefit, however, the entire project team should participate, the common denominator being that they should all have a broad understanding of planning concepts.

Course format

A thoroughly practical two-day course involving exercises, a case study, formal presentations and tutor-facilitated discussions.

Special features

To facilitate the knowledge transfer and performance improvement process, we recommend that the programme sponsor both introduce the course and be present for the final session.

For maximum benefit, this programme can be tailored to incorporate internal procedures and practices. This can include reference to methodologies such as PRINCE2 and the APM’s Body of Knowledge.

Expert trainer

John is a highly qualified (BSc, MSc, CEng, MIMechE, MAPM, AMInstP) independent consultant specialising in project and change management. He established his consultancy practice in 1990, following 20 years of industrial management experience, and now offers a wide range of management training and team development programmes. He also provides facilitation and consultancy services to help clients with specific projects or to assist them with staff and management development programmes.

Before setting up his consultancy and training business, John was a senior manager with Ilford Limited, a leading manufacturer of specialist photographic products. Having starting as a development engineer, he progressed through technical and team leadership roles and was appointed Manager of Engineering Development in 1980. In this role he was directly involved in a major company restructuring programme whilst managing a diverse portfolio of multi-disciplinary engineering projects. His project management role subsequently grew to include a range of business projects, including manufacturing improvement programmes and new product introductions. John was also involved in co-ordinating international technology transfer activities and in strategic business development studies within the Ilford Group.

John’s project management experience includes the design and installation of new manufacturing equipment, the development of new products, the improvement of manufacturing procedures, the relocation of offices and staff and organisation restructuring. John has also co-ordinated international project teams and carried out assignments in support of strategic business development programmes.

Prior to joining Ilford Limited, John trained in the automotive industry and gained an honours degree in Applied Physics. He went on to conduct post-graduate research in cryogenics at Oxford University for which he was awarded an MSc in Engineering Science. John is a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, The Institute of Physics and The Association of Project Management.

John’s client base includes leading organisations in Engineering, Manufacturing, Construction, Defence, IS/IT and Education. He is an associate with Loughborough Business School and is a senior consultant and course director with a number of well-known training organisations. Whilst his work is centred in the UK, he frequently works internationally in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Project planning and risk management – course outline

DAY ONE

1 Introduction (Course sponsor)

  • Why this programme has been developed
  • Review of participants’ needs and objectives

2 Projects and planning

  • Why plan? The benefits of good planning / penalties of poor planning
  • Planning in the project lifecycle; the need for a ‘living’ plan
  • The interaction between target setting and the planning process
  • Team exercise: planning the project

3 Planning the plan

  • Defining the application and structure of the plan
  • Impact of planning decisions during the project lifecycle
  • Using available time to create an effective plan

4 Defining deliverables

  • Assessing the context; reviewing the goals and stakeholders
  • Developing the scope and defining deliverables; scope mapping
  • Understanding customer priorities; delivering value for money
  • Case study: defining the project deliverables

5 Creating the work breakdown

  • Building the work breakdown structure
  • Detailing the tasks and sub-tasks; structured brainstorming
  • Defining task ownership; the task responsibility matrix

6 Creating and using a logical network

  • Developing the logical network; task boarding
  • Determining the critical path and calculating float
  • Accelerating the plan; concurrent programming and risk
  • Individual and group exercises

DAY TWO

7 Developing resource schedules

  • Deriving the Gantt chart from the network
  • Developing the detailed resource schedules
  • Calculating the expenditure profile (‘S’ curve)

8 Estimating task durations and costs

  • Understanding estimates: effort, availability and duration
  • Estimating tools and techniques
  • Application of estimating techniques during the project lifecycle

9 Case study

  • Developing the project plan
  • Refining the project plan
  • Team presentations and discussion

10 Managing risks and refining the plan

  • Awareness of contractual issues associated with risk
  • Identifying and evaluating risks; deciding ownership
  • Managing risks: determining levels of provision and contingency
  • Controlling risks: maintaining an up-to date risk register

11 Planning for pro-active control

  • The earned value analysis (EVA) concept and its predictive value
  • Deriving the measures needed for cost and delivery performance
  • Practical issues associated with implementing EVA

12 Using and maintaining the plan

  • Tracking progress and updating the plan
  • Publishing and controlling the plan

13 Course review and transfer planning (Course sponsor present)

  • Identify ways of implementing the techniques learnt
  • Sponsor-led review and discussion of proposals
  • Conclusion