Risk Management – Part 2: Project Delays

Authors: Alberto Yáñez-Moreno, Ph.D. and Russ Aikman

Posted: July 2017

In last month’s blog we discussed Risk Management as a key activity for successful Project Management. We made the case that effective LSS practitioners set aside time to identify risks. They also take appropriate action to be proactive in mitigating risk. [Click here to read Part 1 of this blog].

In Part 1 it was explained that project risk can be associated with one or more of these overarching project goals:

  1. Quality : Was the solution effective?
  2. Time : Was it completed on time?
  3. Cost : Was it completed on budget?

In Part 2 we discuss risks associated with Time – projects which take too long to complete. We hear more complaints from project sponsors about lengthy projects than any other project management issue. Also, late projects are a form of stress for many BBs and GBs.

As noted in Part 1, from our experience in reviewing hundreds of projects from belts working in many different industries, we feel the biggest risks for late projects occur in Define and Improve. This does not mean that on-time project risks don’t occur in other parts of the DMAIC. But spending extra time on Risk Management in Define and Improve will help minimize your chances of a late project.

One key not mentioned in Part 1: Many of the risks linked to project failure can be addressed in the project selection process. Put differently: An effective, well-managed project selection process can identify project risks and devise countermeasures before a project is launched. And the opposite is true: Poorly managed or nonexistent project selection processes are likely to set up a belt for failure.

Without further ado, our experience is that the following seven issues are the most common causes of project delays:

  1. Scope too large
  2. Voice of customer data not easily available
  3. Process data not easily available
  4. Team members not available
  5. Capital investment required
  6. Extensive tooling required
  7. Significant computer programming or IT support required

Click here for information on each of these risks, the underlying causes, and countermeasures.


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