Project Managers:  Are Your Risks Becoming Cost Overruns,
Schedule Slips, and Technical Shortfalls on Your Projects?

At the present time Management and Technology Associates solely supports the United States Government as an Enterprise Risk Management Adviser.  We will not discuss specifics of this role, nor accept any outside work, nor provide referrals to avoid a conflict of interest or even the perception of a conflict of interest.  This notice will be removed if there is a change in status regarding support provided to the United States Government.  Thank you for your interest in Management and Technology Associates.

Management and Technology Associates works with mid- to large-scale companies in the aerospace, defense, financial, homeland security, information technology, manufacturing, petrochemical, technology, and utility industries, and other selected fields who want to reduce project uncertainty, and better develop and deliver products within budget, on-time, and meeting performance requirements.  We typically work on mid- to large-scale projects and programs ($10 Million to $10+ Billion) that involve cost, schedule, and/or technical performance challenges from concept formulation through product delivery phases.  We have also successfully worked on very small projects ($250 Thousand) and very large programs ($100+ Billion) as well, and have had primary responsibility for risk management in several winning proposals with a contract and option dollar value far exceeding $10 Billion.  Our achievements have been recognized by peers in a number of industries and disciplines, such as systems engineering [Dr. Edmund H. Conrow selected as a Fellow, International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE), recognizing his work as a practitioner and researcher for risk management, and cost, performance, schedule trade methods; Dr. Conrow also named an INCOSE Expert Systems Engineering Professional (ESEP)], aerospace (Life Associate Fellow, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics), electrical engineering [Life Senior Member, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering], remote sensing [Emeritus (Life) Member, American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing], and others.

If you’re like most project managers and senior staff, you’re facing increased pressure to reduce project uncertainty, contain and eliminate product cost overruns, schedule slips, and technical shortfalls, and more accurately predict potential project outcomes.  We help clients develop and deliver products on-budget, on-time, and meeting performance requirements, and assist them in balancing cost, schedule, performance, and risk.  Companies that are willing to invest in risk management and associated implementation can receive these benefits on near-term projects. This investment can also create a proactive risk management culture that will improve competitive posture in the mid- to long-run.

State-of-the-art project risk management is helping many organizations and their projects reduce project uncertainty, adverse cost, schedule, and/or technical performance project impacts, and allow more accurate predictions of project outcomes.  For example, we have found that a single risk averted late in product development can save millions of dollars on a mid- to large-scale project and pay for most, if not all, risk management expenditures.  Averting more than one risk will often lead to cost savings (increased profits) and better delivery schedules.

Several times we have helped avert risks that have led to millions of dollars saved, increased technical performance, and shorter delivery schedules for our clients!

World-Class Risk Management?  Prove it!

How many times have you heard a consultant or company brag about their “world-class risk management?”  These statements are almost always unsubstantiated.  In other cases the consultant’s or company’s risk management process has simply appropriated other people’s intellectual property.  Demand proof before you trust your project, program, or proposal to a consultant or company making such claims!  What’s really unique about their risk management process, what has the consultant or company actually developed and published, and what substantiation do they have for their claims?  Dr. Conrow has served 50+ times as a risk manager and one-on-one mentor to risk managers covering all facets of project risk management and related fields where he was responsible for implementing and making risk management work daily on a wide variety of programs and proposals.  Dr. Conrow has written/re-written/edited scores of Risk Management Plans and hundreds of risk handling plans for Government and industry.  We’ve made a variety of advances in risk management process development, implementation, and documentation that are known by our clients and discussed in professional forums.  Some of the risk management process innovations that we can publically state include:

·        Developing a unique, structured approach to identify differences between risk and opportunity management, and discussing limitations of opportunity management.

·        Developing and applying a unique analytical framework that, together with the dominant variables, predicts the nature of risks likely present in a given industry.

·        A 25+ year focus on key project ground rules and assumptions that should be documented in the Risk Management Plan.

·        Developed a structured approach for selecting and implementing the “best” risk identification strategy.

·        A 25+ year focus on explicitly addressing integration risk and its various aspects.

·        A breakout of technical risk into a variety of components, which helps to avoid missing potential risks that later become problems.

·        Led a 25+ year campaign identifying errors resulting from invalid mathematical operations performed on results obtained from ordinal risk scales (which was originally pushed by a major aerospace prime contractor). In addition, I developed a variety of approaches for working with ordinal scales that don’t violate underlying mathematical and statistical principals.

·        Exposing substantial flaws in commonly used probability of occurrence risk analysis scales and developing superior scales that can both reduce scoring errors, and increase the accuracy of risk analyses.

·        Exposed substantial flaws in assumptions commonly used with Technology Readiness Levels, and developed a unique approach to correct these flaws.

·        Testing the validity of “built-in” probability distributions contained in Monte Carlo simulations used in risk analyses.

·        Exploring bias errors and potential solutions in selecting specific probability distributions.

·        Development and use of test cases to debug and validate Monte Carlo simulations.

·        Development and use of a structured approach for selecting the “best” risk handling strategy.

·        Development and use of tailored metrics for risk monitoring.

·        Implementing a feedback loop in a widely used risk management process (together with more than 50 technical changes in the supporting documentation).

·        Correcting dozens of errors in another widely used risk management process.

We have more than 35 years of experience in helping clients develop and implement risk management, project management, systems engineering, acquisition strategy, and other management and technical solutions across a variety of industries.  We also have more than 175 professional presentations, papers, book, and related publications in risk management, project management, systems engineering, and related fields, including papers that have won awards at national conferences.  Why trust your project, program, or proposal to anyone else?

What Makes Us Stand Out?

Did you know that most risk management consultants and trainers have never had long-term responsibility and accountability to make risk management work on a real project, program, or proposal?  Why “risk” your project, program, or proposal on people with limited experience and ability?

We have both the knowledge and “hands on” experience to effectively help your team:  reduce uncertainty, determine previously undetected risks, prevent known risks from becoming problems, better understand your entire risk management process and how it integrates with other key processes, find potential risk management process shortfalls, and implement your desired improvements.

We’ve served more than 50 times as a risk manager and one-on-one mentor to risk managers covering all facets of project risk management and related disciplines where we were responsible for implementing and making risk management work daily on a wide variety of programs.  These risk manager and mentor assignments have lasted from months to more than one year.  In addition, we have held numerous long-term project management and technical positions reporting directly to organization executives (to the CEO level), program managers, and project managers, and have served as project managers on a variety of different activities.  Our “hands on” risk management, project management, and technical experience with long-term responsibility and accountability far exceeds that of almost all risk management consultants and trainers.  (We challenge you to look at and verify their resumes—often people being promoted as experienced risk management consultants have never served as a risk manager, or if so only one or two times.)  In addition, we have contributed to and developed risk management policy that is in widespread use across industry and government, served as high-level industry and government advisors, served as short-term mentors and advisors, and received numerous letters of commendation for our work.  We have directly saved millions of dollars on several programs.

We develop enhancements tailored to your project, program, or proposal based upon our world-class best practices and almost a thousand documented risk management lessons learned.  And we help you efficiently bring risk management into your day-to-day project management and systems engineering processes so that risks can be dealt with before they become costly problems.  This gives you a long-term risk management solution that you can use on current and future projects, programs, and proposals—something that most other risk management consultants and trainers can’t provide.

Some Additional Client Benefits From Using Our Services:

·        We help your management team create an environment conducive to actively and continuously performing effective risk management.

·        We work with your personnel to identify risk management and related process shortfalls and strengthen the process(es) to improve effectiveness.

·        We help you develop a suitable risk management process tailored to your project, program, or proposal that meets/exceeds your expectations.  Your organization can maintain this process; adapt it to other projects, programs, or proposals; and it will not become obsolete in the future.

·        We evaluate how you’ve integrated risk management with other key processes, and work with project management and other team personnel to enhance the effectiveness of each process.

·        We provide your project, program, or proposal with a suitable set of tailored risk management tools and techniques that meets/exceeds both your and client requirements, and can be used by your personnel without outside assistance.

·        We work with your personnel to develop a tailored risk management implementation approach that ranges from organizational ownership of the risk management process, integration with other processes, to roles and responsibilities of key personnel and teams.  This allows you to better implement risk management in a resource-effective manner on your application and others within your organization.

·        We work with your personnel to evaluate existing risks and help you prevent these risks from adversely impact your project, program, or proposal.

·        We work with your personnel to develop suitable risk handling plans to prevent risks from adversely impacting your project or program, and contingency plans in the event the risk might occur.

How We Helped on the NASA Hyperion Project—One Example:

TRW (now Northrop Grumman Space Technology) was asked by NASA to develop a highly complex electro-optical instrument for spaceflight.  The previous contractor defaulted and was about to be terminated by NASA because of poor risk management.  The project was slated for roughly 12 months total (split equally into 6 months for development and 6 months for integration and testing) vs. more than 4 years for a normal schedule.  NASA told TRW that, if the instrument was delivered late, it could not be used.  NASA also mentioned that, unless TRW developed and implemented a much better risk management capability, the contract could be terminated.  At the time we started working for TRW, they were already 2 months into the 6-month development and did not have the capability to perform comprehensive risk management that was needed on this project.

developed and tailored a risk management process, documented the process in a Risk Management Plan, and delivered the plan to TRW in less than three weeks.  We developed risk management training with inputs from the TRW Project Manager (PM) and his Deputy for systems engineering, and rolled-out the training to the project team.  We worked with the TRW PM and Deputy PM to foster a conducive environment to perform risk management, and project personnel to implement the process across the project.  We were able to gain the trust and professional respect of team members and helped and encouraged them to assimilate risk management principles into their job function.  We worked with TRW management and other team members to identify, analyze, handle, and monitor risks (including conducting 5 comprehensive risk assessments during the next 6 months and helping to develop risk handling strategies for key risks); met with TRW management, team, and NASA leads and tracked project risks on almost a daily basis; helped develop contingency plans as needed; and supported TRW and NASA requests for risk management documentation and briefings that were presented to numerous high level managers.

The instrument was delivered one week ahead of schedule, on budget, and met or exceeded all performance requirements.  TRW widely implemented the risk management process we developed for Hyperion across its programs.  NASA and TRW executives stated more than once that we “saved the project!”

More Information
Not every risk management enhancement will lead to such spectacular results.  However, effective risk management can lead to project success.  (The converse is also true—ineffective risk management can contribute to project failure as with the previous instrument contractor in the Hyperion example mentioned above.)  We have the broad experience and knowledge to help you
develop, tailor, and implement risk management and improve the effectiveness of an existing process on a wide variety of projects, programs, and proposals.

(Note:  The information in the Hyperion example and paper has been publicly released by TRW and NASA, who have also distributed this material.  This release is an exception to our normal business practice.  We do not discuss our work for clients, nor mention their organization, with others to help our clients maintain the competitive advantage we provide.  This is quite contrary to most risk management consultants and companies who commonly list clients and specific programs in their marketing material.)

Some Recent Client Testimonials

Mission accomplished.  Great work.  You made the (risk management) process effective.

Winning Proposal Manager, multi-billion dollar program

I applaud the Risk Management training (I) just completed.  Bringing in a risk expert with a supporting text to teach risk fundamentals through a series of meetings was excellent use of time and money.  The risk foundation laid by Dr. Conrow supplements our company’s Best Practices and provides the basics for any employee tasked with leading or supporting risk management on a program.  Our company needs more of this including the next level of Risk Management.

Risk Manager, major aerospace company

The (proposal) experience provided me with a first hand appreciation of your ability to integrate into the client and proposal team organization and show them the “how” of getting the risk management sections done.  There is a tendency to delay risk management which frustrates the ability to manage the process during proposal development.  I think you made great strides in recognizing the obstacles and coming up with techniques that could enlist attention to the risk management effort.

Retired Aerospace Industry Executive and Senior Consultant

It was a pleasure to work with you. One of the best risk management experiences that I've had on a proposal. Your templates and guidance were much appreciated. Expectations clear. First risk leader to acknowledge the inherent parallelism in a risk walkdown approach that I've typically used on larger programs but found difficult to visually capture. Thanks again.

Senior Program Manager, major aerospace company

Thanks for all of your insight.  Concepts presented during each session were immediately applicable upon return to work.  The course laid a good foundation from the basic steps of risk management to the subtleties of working the details and watching out for the pitfalls.

Risk Manager, multi-billion dollar program

Your experience and patience helped draw out key risk management issues that needed to be examined on our program.

Senior Engineering Manager, major engineering corporation

The risk management training provided by Dr. Conrow were immensely beneficial to all participants, as we all have learned a great deal from Dr. Conrow. His class materials were based on his extensive risk management knowledge from performing risk management on a wide variety of programs. He taught participants with his insights, including hundreds of tips to succeed and traps to avoid. We can directly apply what we've learned from his classes to make virtually any risk management process more effective. Far from using an "ivory tower" approach, he framed problems and potential solutions in easy to understand language, and he was very helpful in working with program personnel to implement approved changes.

Risk Manager, multi-billion dollar program

For Additional Information

Please call us and visit the links below to learn more about how we can help your organization and project.  We’ll provide you with 30 minutes of consulting time at no charge to better understand your risk management concerns and how you can increase the likelihood of delivering products within budget, on schedule, and meeting performance requirements.

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Links to Project Risk Management Services

Home Page

How We Can Help

Overview of Services

Why Risk Management?

Why Do It Well?

Papers and Presentations

Some Client Profiles

Synopsis of Experience

Risk Management Training

About Dr. Edmund H. Conrow

Code of Ethics

Risk Management Links

Second Edition of Dr. Conrow's Risk Management Book with Reviews

Risk Management e-Interview with International Council on Systems Engineering

Links to Other Services

Additional Services

Synopsis of Additional Experience

Additional Papers and Presentations

Please contact us about these and related services tailored to your needs.

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Dr. Edmund H. Conrow, CMC, CRM, PMP
P. O. Box 1125
Redondo Beach, CA 90278
Tel: (310) 374-7975


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