Category Archives: Economics

Boxing and Risk-based Management

Boxing is a risk event. Monitoring risk is like watching boxing, both with the intention to strike opportunities, prevent and mitigate threats, make the right response, and to make the right decision.

As a risk-based management practitioner, the sometimes bloody sport of boxing is so fascinating in my view as it relates so well with the concept of risk.

Boxers have their response plan to prevent or mitigate the punches. The boxing judges have a decision to make and it has to be the right one Continue reading

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Diversity Risk in the Canadian Workplace

If we look in the past, multiculturalism has a long and wide history in Canada. It was then adopted by the government during the 1970s and 1980s (Kobayashi, 1993) and (Duncan & Duncan, 1993).
From that time onwards, various religious and cultural influences flourished in our society; from the family to the workplace and into the main building blocks of Canadian politics. They consist of people from a multitude of racial, religious, and cultural background. 

Multiculturalism was an open invitation to “cultural pluralism”, a state where smaller groups within a larger society maintain their unique cultural identities. It means that the values and practices of a distinct cultural group are accepted by the wider culture provided they do not violate any governing laws and values.

Note that “cultural pluralism” is often confused with “multiculturalism”. 
Yes, the attributes are very similar except for one evident distinction-“multiculturalism lacks the requirement for a dominant culture (Wikipedia, 2013.Cultural Pluralism). 

In the midst of these diversities lie the risks and questions that we all have to answer and manage every day.  Continue reading

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Diversity Risk – Case 1 : Nho Klu

I happened to come across Nho recently and he has this to say:

“My family immigrated to Canada in 2003 and was into my second year when I got employed in that EPC company where I eventually reported to John. When John talked, I was all ears. By not being vocal against some of his methods, I thought I was showing my respect and loyalty. Although, I sometimes felt he does not have any idea about the task, I kept my mouth shut. He was my leader and I trusted him to do things correctly. I have never done anything unless I have his blessing. What kind of Leader was he that after giving my best approving-yes-attitude and respect, that was how he repaid me? I do not have any idea.”

The truth is (that is whether you admit it or not) there will be times and occasions that one just cannot seem to get his message across and vice versa. The other party or parties apparently do not appreciate what one is bringing to the table. In the midst of these diversities lie the risks and questions that we all have to answer and manage every day (Frago, R., 2017.Diversity Risk in the Canadian Workplace.LinkedIn Pulse).

Managers tend to see the next person through perception all the time. He sees someone the way others painted the person or what he himself has painted the person to be.

The danger is, what the leader perceived might be farthest from the truth. Continue reading

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Diversity Risk Case 2 : Puro Mali

Whether a person is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company, the janitor or cleaner under contract, or a jobless person on the street, I am sure he wants some respect.

The challenges brought about by cultural differences like nationality, region, education, language, family values, political and professional affiliation, exposures, training, expectations, communication styles, philosophies, roles, positions, responsibility, unspoken languages, and many other potential differences produce the common office interactions and relationships we are seeing today in the workplace.

It is very interesting how new Canadians (newcomers to Canada) cope at work compared to their Canadian-trained counterparts in various settings.

In that aspect, communication being a two-way street, we can conclude that it will affect Canadian trained professionals to the same extent. The degree of understanding can improve only if one takes enough time to look through each other’s lenses. Seeing another person’s perspective with an open mind will influence the success and failures of any endeavor. Continue reading

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Black Swans

Black swan events are so fascinating that they are a common source of discussion in many risk management forums. The variety of perspectives coming from all directions never ceases to amaze.

To a risk manager, ‘black swan’ phenomena are highly unlikely events that have massive impacts on a business or society on the rare occasions they occur. It means that the event is unexpected, but is of huge consequence (Ferguson, 2014). There is no scientific way at present to predict black swan events reasonably and acceptably.
Continue reading

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Risk Relativity

A person’s perspective depends on which side of the fence they are sitting on. With that in mind, a risk can be a threat or an opportunity. Your business sees a threat and your competitor sees an opportunity. It is as simple as that.

Each individual player within the risk universe will see things a bit differently compared to the next person, with some people interpreting things in exactly the opposite fashion. In each case, the person can see only one attribute.

The simplistic objective point of view is that risk is either a threat or an opportunity, depending on the observer’s orientation to the goal. Continue reading

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Egad! It is the Most Likely Schedule!

One has to remember that a schedule is a time estimate. It is not the exact actual time value at the time. Experienced professionals try to provide a plausible estimate. Nobody really knows what would be the definitive value.

ML date (or most likely duration) is not the same as expected date (or expected duration). It is but a component of the expected value. With the three point estimates (Triangular or Beta) available, one can calculate the expected duration of an activity, a group of activity, and the whole project’s duration.

It is one of the questions asked more often in risk-based planning and scheduling. Project directors, managers, planners, and schedulers have to know what this term means.

Each time a scheduler tries to explain the concept, he easily gets lost in his own circumlocution. It might be his indirectness compounded by the fact that this particular term shares common but blurred boundaries with some other project and risk management terms.

In view of such difficulties, let us put their words and thoughts on paper so that project practitioners can better understand. Continue reading

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The Risky Future of Oil

In risk-based management, one tries to anticipate the risk. The risk is either a threat or an opportunity. The issues of today are the risks of the past. The risks of the future are driven by the issues and problems of today. How the issues are addressed today will decide what happen in the future. These are fundamentals of risk and risk-based management. The risky future of oil points to the events that threaten it and the opportunities that come close behind ( Frago, R., 2015.Risk-based Management in the World of Threats and Opportunities: A Project Controls Perspective).

No one expert knows exactly how much oil out there exceeds the global volumetric demand but all seem to agree that the entire world is drowning in it. The Gulf countries, foremost Saudi Arabia are reportedly pumping at almost maximum capacity without blinking an eye.

There are now more than three billion barrels of excess supply in world oil markets, according to the International Energy Agency last November 2015. It its latest monthly report, the IEA said this “massive cushion” of excess supply has grown as oil prices have fallen to a new normal of around $50 billion barrels a day (The Telegraph, 2015). We can all extrapolate what is the current figure as of today and we won’t be dead wrong.

With Iran back on play, it won’t be long before the Iranians fully open their discharge valve occupying whatever space is left to take. This Saudis are doing all they can to protect and even grow market shares. The object is to prevent arch rival Iran from surging back with vengeance. It means that whatever good things the last twelve months retreat shelving drilling, exploration, and billions worth of projects, truth of the matter is, it might not be enough. Continue reading

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Risk-based Management: Data Maturity, Integration, Risk and Execution

The overall execution plan loses substance when important pieces are missing. It can also lose its essence when many smaller project elements are absent, through their cumulative effect.

Data maturity is a project attribute project managers have to deal with in some intelligent way. They seek to formulate a way to address missing and incomplete information and to strike a balance somehow. It is very risky trying to integrate a project with missing or incomplete work scope. Filling in an information space with assumed fill-in data is a risky trade-off.

Quality is frequently a victim of time. Think about it. Try doing anything quicker than normal. What will happen to the quality of any endeavor compared to one given enough time? Right you are! We will see resources skipping steps, doing shortcuts, circumventing rules, violating regulations, lying, cheating, sugarcoating, and many others. The adverse consequences, to name a few includes reworks, higher safety incidents, project suspension, strikes, disputes, litigation, lay-offs, and bunches of other bad news. All these will potentially happen because quality has deteriorated. Continue reading

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Conducting Project Analysis: Using PIRCAD Approach Part 1

Faced with a question on how one would analyze a problematic situation on the spot without going to any existing analytic templates and guidelines, the PIRCAD approach was born. The acronym is odd sounding but easy to remember. It simply … Continue reading

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