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Project management and risk assessment

Extracts from this document...








TERMS OF REFERNCE                                                                                 2

REPORT SUMMARY                                                                                     3










Overview of the Project: This is an individual research assignment answering three set questions in regards to project management and risk assessment.

Objectives for the Project

  • Research the areas of Project management and Risk Assessment.
  • Answer three set questions in regards to the research area.

Constraints- A word count of 3500 has been imposed upon the report. Researching the topics can only be used through the University of Westminster Infolynx resource no web sites are allowed as a source of research.

Resources – Microsoft Word 2000 is the only software required for the write up of the report. Two bound copies of the report will be submitted alongside two copies of the report on Disc.


This document looks at the technique of project management alongside risk assessment and is designed to give an overview of why projects fail in regards to the project environment and the risks associated within it.

For the purpose of this study project management is defined as the process of managing a project which requires the application of planning, team-building, communicating, controlling, decision-making and closing skills, principles, tools and techniques. Risk assessment is defined as Part of risk management in which planners identify potential risks and describe them, usually in terms of their symptoms, causes, probability of occurrence and potential impact.

Identified in this document are three stages in regards to Project management and Risk assessment. These are Projects failure and Risk assessment, the project environment and risks and Risk register and documentation of project risks.

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What went wrong?

The project was an ambitious one, probably not fully deliverable within the very tight timetable originally specified. It had special features that added to its risks; notably its status as a pioneering Private Finance Project, the need to join up the systems of two purchasers with differing business objectives, and the need for the development and testing of more new software than was originally thought(2).

The Department and Post Office Counters Ltd had different objectives for the project which led to increased tension.

The Departments initial business case did not adequately assess the risk and costs of serious slippage. When the contract was signed key parts of the detailed specification had not been finalized.

Too little time was allowed for pilot schemes and the two purchasers did not properly assess the risks involved in such a complex project.

What were the lessons learned?

A number of the lessons indicate that closer attention to project management techniques could have mitigated the failures.

Divided control. The project was run by two organisations, the Department and Post Office Counters Ltd, with different objectives. Although in theory projects can be run by two or more organisations, in practice this is a recipe for dispute and delay, which is what happened in this case. A key lesson to be learned is that it is usually better to let one purchaser take the lead with proper arrangements for information flow.

Inadequate time for specifying the requirement and piloting. A key lesson is that allowing realistic timescales for early planning and detailed specification will pay dividends in time, cost and quality;

A shared, open approach to risk management across the whole programme was not achieved.

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Necessary facilities not available: Not having the necessary facilities to complete the project may effect the completion of it. This will ultimately result in delay to the work of the project. This could result in not meeting the agreed deadline and ultimately having the project scrapped.

Exeeding Budget:  A major risk to an IT project is the chance of not meeting budgetary levels. This will result in increased costs and ultimately leading the project to be scrapped by the owners.

Not meeting deadlines: A project that is completed late may no longer be of any use to the end-user or the owner. This needs to be avoided as it could cost the project developers a lot of time and money.

Lack of management support. Project owners tend to be passive rather than active when it comes to project success. This is a major risk to any project is the amount of involvement from those of whom are commissioning the project.

Project development has many risks that need to be overcome in order for it to be classified a success. An example of a Risk Register can be found in the appendix see figure 3.


The following journals, Textbooks and newspapers were used to complete this report.

Bennit, S., Mcrobb, S., Farmer. R, 2002, Object-orientated systems analysis and design, Second edition, Glasgow: McGraw-Hill Education.

Marsh, D, 2000, The project & programme support office handbook, Volume one, Great Britain: Project Manager Today.

Cleland, D., 2001, A guide to the project management body of knowledge of 2000, Chicago: Project Management Institute.

Houstin, L., 2000, Management project procurement, Washington D.C: Primis.

Schwalbe, K., 2003, Information technology project management, London: Course                     technology.

Carl, S., 2000, Step by step Microsoft project 2000, Canada: Penguin Books.

Perez, J., 2001, Benefit fraud, Computing Weekly, pg. 11.

Timmins, N., Whitehall Passports, Financial times, Dec 4 2003, pg. 4.

Morris, S., Asylum scrapped, Guardian, Feb 16 2001, pg.9.

Barnes, M., Post it benefits, The Times, Aug 14 2002, pg. 23.

Nugent, H., Benefit fiasco, The Times, Aug 16 2002, pg. 5.

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