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Corporate InformationResearch & Development

December 15, 2017

Report from Presenter

Photo 1 One of the presentation halls

From November 29th to December 1st, ProMAC2017 was held in Munich, Germany. ProMAC is an annual international conference participated by project managers, PMOs (Project Manager Offices) and researchers engaged in studies on management methods. The conference this year was hosted in cooperation of SPM Society of Project Management (Japan), GPM German Project Management Association and IPMA International Project Management Association, and the participants were not only from the Asia Pacific area, but also from countries in Europe and Africa (Photo 1). We gave a presentation titled "Proposal of anti-pattern utilization method for loss-cost reduction." In the presentation, we proposed a method to create and utilize anti-patterns by classifying project failure structures.

Fig. 1 The concept of risk propagation model

Fig. 2 Need for failure patterns

Generally speaking, project success rate has risen owing to various project management methods, but it is still inadequate. Unprofitable projects severely impacting the business is reported. Reducing loss cost (unneeded cost and loss) is one of the most important challenges in business.

We have been working on establishing risk management methods using models explaining the generation mechanisms of loss costs of the past projects (risk propagation model) (Figure 1). In the risk propagation model, project failure structure is expressed in a "cause" & "result" chain format. Using the model, possible project failure scenarios are predictable, and by maintaining measures information for each node, measures suited for the project state can be chosen.

Failure scenarios can be divided into multiple parts, and if you want to use the model for failure prediction, each of the damages must be presented separately (Figure 2). We decided to express each cluster corresponding to damage as "PM anti-patterns".

First, we considered the anti-pattern structure based on interviews on PMO members and Project managers. There are 6 information items in the anti-pattern (Figure 3). The first 4 are information to understand the failure. They are summarized in a document called the "pattern sheet". The last 2 items are information used to search for appropriate patterns. They are summarized in a document called the "pattern list". We organized the failure-representing clusters in the risk propagation model as PM anti-patterns. We took subsets of the model and clipped them out to define information format to understand project failures (Figure 4). The PM anti-pattern list consists of seven information items (Figure 5).

Fig. 3 PM anti-pattern structure

Fig. 4 PM anti-pattern sheet

We then defined a utilization method of the PM anti-patterns. There are two phases in anti-pattern utilization (Figure 6). In the first phase, the selection phase, the PMO members supporting the target project search for the appropriate PM anti-patterns to present to the project manager of the target project. In the next step, the post-presentation phase, the project managers use the presented anti-patterns to identify the project risks, plan preventive measures against the risks, and monitor the project status to check the effectiveness of the measures. The process is taken for each PM anti-patterns presented.

Fig. 5 PM anti-pattern list

Fig. 6 Two phases of PM anti-pattern utilization

We have evaluated the advantage of the project failure structure model (risk propagation model) and the applicability of the PM anti-patterns and obtained implications of the PM anti-pattern effectiveness.

Our future challenges are the followings; defining the creation steps to continuously accumulate PM anti-patterns, and evaluating/ improving the patterns through application to actual projects.


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