The recent evolution of PMI’s Continuing Certification Requirements which included the introduction of their Talent Triangle made me think about the PMBOK knowledge areas and where training related to one of those knowledge areas would fall.
There’s no question that learning new skills in the areas of conflict resolution, negotiation or executive communications would all align well with the Leadership side of the triangle, and taking a course which teaches you how to create a project schedule using MS Project unquestionably falls within the Technical Project Management realm.
But how about courses on risk management?
Learning how to use risk management tools including a probability/impact matrix, decision trees or Monte Carlo simulations are clearly technical skills so these could legitimately be claimed as Technical Project Management training.
But is it sufficient to merely learn how to use these tools to effectively manage risk on your projects?
Many project risk management training offerings fail because they only focus on teaching hard skills. Practitioners learn how to use those tools, but not the context, positioning and other judgment that’s required to use them wisely.
As with many project management learnings, with great power comes great responsibility.
Understanding risk bias, communicating risks such that a true sense of urgency is instilled within risk owners, and harnessing and focusing creativity from key stakeholders to comprehensively identify risks are just a few examples of the Leadership aspect of risk management at play.
So is it sufficient to say that risk management only addresses those two sides of the Talent Triangle?
Let’s say we take a project manager who has only managed projects within one industry or domain and transplant them to another. For example, a project manager who has focused solely on technology projects is asked to manage a construction project. Would this project manager have a good understanding of the common sources of risk to projects within the construction domain and the normal strategies to respond to them?
Most likely not.
While it is certainly reasonable to expect that the project manager would want to staff their team with team members who do possess that knowledge, there is also a strong benefit in a project manager having sufficient knowledge to be capable of understanding risk information provided by their team and being able to position this information appropriately with key stakeholders. To enable this, a project manager might attend a conference or take a course which would cover risk knowledge specific to their new industry.
Therefore risk management can also fall under Strategic and Business Management.
So to answer the titular question posed by this week’s article, risk management covers all sides of the Talent Triangle.