Episode 35 Original Air Date: PDUs: 0. World-renowned author, trainer, keynote speaker and consultant, Liliana Buchtik, joins the cast of Manage This via Skype all the way from Uruguay. Liliana specializes in project management and is worldwide known as an author, trainer, keynote speaker, and consultant.

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Episode 35 Original Air Date: PDUs: 0. World-renowned author, trainer, keynote speaker and consultant, Liliana Buchtik, joins the cast of Manage This via Skype all the way from Uruguay.

Liliana specializes in project management and is worldwide known as an author, trainer, keynote speaker, and consultant. She brings global and diverse experiences from diverse management and project management positions from close to thirty countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, and North America.

She has worked for leading private, public, and not for profit organizations in diverse industries such as technology, oil and gas, mining, engineering and construction, among others.

Liliana shares with us her vast amount of knowledge regarding risk management and the WBS and discusses the value of Project Management worldwide. Not all of them. So the first thing you need to work with that project management to make sure risk management becomes part of their culture.

Our guests include recognized experts in the field who focus on their own experiences so we can share their successes and learn from their mistakes. We find out how they work and how they motivate others to work. Liliana is a renowned expert and somebody that is going to really be a good contributor to the show.

Liliana shares her knowledge, her experience, and international perspective to audiences worldwide, challenging them with storytelling and real-world examples. Liliana, welcome to Manage This. Thank you so much. Is there something that they have in common, a common thread that you find among your diverse audiences?

Sometimes I talk with executives. Sometimes I talk, as you said, with students, or many times with PMO managers or project managers, program managers. You tend to find more maturity, for example, in North America than in Latin America in general.

But I think one thing in common is that I see the growth in interest regarding project, program, and portfolio management across the globe, even at the top levels of the organization. And so we try to communicate with those executives and managers that project management is not something that you need to spend on when you have enough money. So a lot of time. And I have to admit this is a little bit outside my comfort zone and over my head. Liliana, I want to start out at a high level.

When I think about the opportunities that you have with different individuals and organizations and the diversity of experience, what are some of the common mistakes that you see when it comes to practitioners with risk management? What do you see over and over in these engagements? And actually what they know is very, very basic. Many people think that, because they know the chapter on risk management of the PMBOK Guide, they are gurus in risk management, and they do even training only about that chapter.

And for me that is just the ABCs, just the very beginning. You need it. So the tools that they tend to use are basic. And so you wrote a book years ago on the WBS that I really like. And yet people can easily believe they know all the details behind it. My risk management book is almost pages on risk management.

But what we need to understand is that to become real world project managers, we need to go beyond the standards. When I think about a page book dedicated to risk management, and then I think about the short section of the PMBOK Guide, that just makes a very clear picture to me. And this is kind of a follow-up question to that, thinking about these client engagements that you have.

I always tell my clients, you will never, ever use 70 tools in your process. You just need to know all of them once, just to know advantages, disadvantages, and when you should apply each of them.

And one of the very, very funny things that I find all the time is regarding Monte Carlo. Some people are fascinated with Monte Carlo. But they see it at the university, or they see it in the books, so they know that the PMP asks many questions about it.

So they believe that risk management is Monte Carlo. So you need to work with them in every situation, explain the tools, explain the value, explain the requirements.

When you work with organizations, how do you apply risk management to Agile projects? You can work in an Agile manner. But despite that, you still need to have even a basic risk register because, even in a project, for example, I have worked in projects with a project manager and a scrum master.

The scrum master would lead, for example, the software development piece. But the project probably is bigger and has acquisitions or other things. So for that you have to do risk management from the PM perspective. And obviously using Agile you should be decreasing that risk, specifically in the software development process. How do you work, how do you adapt to that? You should be updating it all the time. Obviously that also depends on how risky the project is. For example, a few years ago in Latin America, specifically in Chile, was very popular the rescue of 33 miners.

So in that way you have to be checking risk every single day. And they had a full-time risk manager all the time there. But at least once a month or more, or once every two weeks. Or not only you need to go over all the risks, but for example just the critical ones, two or three, to make sure everything is on track, and you will not fail. When you walk into a room, and you begin a conversation with a project manager, at what point do you go, okay, this person seems to have a good handle on risk management?

What are some attributes or some characteristics of someone who seems to have their act together when it comes to managing risks? So I use a lot of pictures with failed projects, and I explain the reasons for failure. Some years ago it was very popular, the quality management culture, and everybody was certified. And that said quality is the responsibility from the very top to the very bottom.

Everybody should want to work for quality. And all together need to work to make it happen and to make it work. And of course that really started in the s and then picked up steam decade after decade. But the guys in this room….

And you think about how many more miles a car is expected to get without any breakdown today than it was. So it makes me really wonder what would we have to look forward to if that kind of culture of risk management worked its way into projects and organizations. I wonder what the downstream benefits would be. And they were not using professional risk management. And we started to pilot a new methodology on risk management in that project.

And I talk with them because we are doing monitoring on the pilot. But now we actually knew them, and we can quantify it, and I can tell you how many dollars is the value of the risk we have in this Hilton project.

And that is actually really great. It is an investment. I want to toot your horn for a minute. You have an excellent book on the work breakdown structure. I love that book. Do you want to touch on that topic of the connection between the WBS and risk management? I mean, when you have a WBS, you can be able to navigate the WBS and asking, like for example, what risk has this exactly work package?

What could go wrong with Package No. What could prevent me from delivering Package ? So in general, when you do approach it, or you are in the feasibility analysis, you are not going to use the WBS. I mean, and actually one of the three major failures of projects are scope changes, and not knowing how to manage the scope and changes also.

So if at the starting point you have a good WBS, you are actually, just by having that, you are reducing way far the risk in your approach. You will have issues with your schedule, and you will have issues with everything. So, yes, a very good way of reducing the amount of uncertainty in the approach is starting by understanding the scope. Some people in their approaches, they try to totally skip scope management.

And actually I do a lot of training on WBS still, and many of them just read about it at the PMBOK Guide or learn about it at this course, and then they just go from documents or contracts to the schedule directly. They totally skip the WBS. And being an outsider to the world of project management, there are a lot of things that strike me.

One of the things that struck me that you were talking about earlier was the culture of organizations and how to deal with some of those different cultures. Is it the country that you are in? Is it the economy, the lifestyle, the history?

Or does risk management speak a common language? Or are there things that you have to deal with that are very, maybe even minute differences, but can become larger differences in the whole scheme of things? So when I worked at that committee I thought, well, ethics sometimes is — some people say, well, that depends on the culture or on the country.


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Episode 35 — Risk Management and WBS With Liliana Buchtik





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