Thomas Polen

Presentation: What is Lurking in Your Project Forecasts?

Abstract: Forecasting project schedule and cost completion can be viewed as a mysterious art form. Successful forecasting requires first-hand knowledge of project scope, technical barriers, full awareness of staffing requirements, ability to see around corners, and solve problems before they become barriers to success.

Project and Portfolio risk management is an often overlooked component of the forecasting process. Risk is sometimes viewed as overly complex, contributing to a culture of avoiding or overlooking risk management.

In this session we will discuss:

  1. Why companies avoid risk analysis and the consequences
  2. Creating simple ways for resources to contribute to the overall risk picture
  3. Using the right tools to process risk information
  4. Concisely reporting risk hot spots
  5. Actions to take based on risk reporting

During this session, Tom Polen will demonstrate how to counteract and avoid frequently cited objections to proper risk analysis, while illustrating methods for teams to participate in risk-based forecasting process with minimal time investment.

With realistic project plans, for which each project risk has been accounted for, individual and portfolio forecasts become more achievable. This in turn, fosters confidence in execution that is impossible to fake. When a team knows their plan, threats, opportunities, and acceleration strategies, they can predict their own destiny and contribute to overall business’ success.

PMI Talent Triangle: Technical Project Management

Biography: Tom Polen currently serves as Director, Solutions Architect for the Project and Portfolio Management solutions at Deltek.

During his career, Tom has scoped, designed, developed, and implemented Project Planning Systems in the telecommunications, transportation, insurance, and defense industries. His mission is to help the field of Project Management to focus on analysis, rather than the development of data and information used to support analysis.

Tom comments “I see too much manual, repetitive work being performed for the sake of project planning and performance measurement. A strong focus on automation combined with an understanding of project risk will yield a system which reduces routine leg-work and aids in developing quality, achievable project plans. I see many ‘analyst’ job titles, but how often do these folks have the opportunity to perform analysis? Typically they’re moving data or ‘crunching numbers.’ It’s time for change.”