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October 28, 2013

Essay on Risks and Constraints in Project Management

Assumptions, Risks & Constraints in Project Management



A term that considers in some important ways the resemblance of private-sector management with non-profit and government administration is known as public management. In private and public domains, there are appropriate management tools that maximize effectiveness and efficiency. Critical infrastructure is dealt by the public manager which directly affects the quality of life (Behn, 1995). In most nations, the public managers are subjected to many ethics guidelines and conflict of interest due to the large sums spent on their behalf and trust on them.
The fact that in compare to the projects of private sector, the government projects are often larger in scale and this underlines the complexities within public management. The public is directly and strongly affected by the public projects. The management of public projects is affected by the lack of business competition for government agencies. There, two contradictory requirements that are confronted by the public sector projects. High levels of secrecy are required by some projects. Security operations, law enforcement and military are included by those sensitive projects.
Making information available on request to the public is required by other projects. Anyone can file the FOIA requests in the United States. The requested information is required to be provided by the project team in response to an FOIA request. In either private sector or public sector projects, the project is always impacted by management of project risk. Risks are acquired by both public sector and private sector projects, but additional risks are acquired by public sector projects, and in the private sector projects these risks do not often occur.
For managing the administrative and legal constraints creation of a plan, developing risk responses, analyzing risks, identifying risks and for risk management creating a plan are the 5 necessary functions that are required for risk management of public sector projects. A special place is occupied by risks in project management. Since new activities are created that take time and require resources therefore risk management is also a critical function, which as a result, the other project management processes are tightly faced by risk management (Kemp, 2006). For contract documents, the non-granted of legal approval might be an early project risk.
Changes in federal law might not have been anticipated during early project planning. However, inclusive of cost, time and scope adjustments, in project planning an emergencies and host of new risks will required to be reflected if relevant law were to change (Atkinson, 1999). Resource reduction risks related to the reduction of project funding prior to its completion and in public-sector projects is also an increasingly common occurrence, budget process risks, process risks inclusive of factors embedded in hiring or purchasing processes and can impact or delay the project, stakeholder risks that can result loss of support of the project by stakeholders, publicity risks that results in adversity or unfavorable press coverage for the project, political risks that can cause political opposition or scrutiny, scope risks that can cause an inadequately identified scope, cost risks that can increase the cost of the project and schedule risks that can delay the project are some risk classifications for projects of public sector.
A few assumptions can be made in the public sector projects about stakeholder risk tolerances. First, for any risks that influence political scrutiny, adverse press coverage, or project visibility, low tolerance is acquired by senior stakeholders. Second, because of the internal incurred costs are not identified by the common practice, cost risks are often sensitive to stakeholders of public sector project (Baldry, 1998). Last, whether in higher-level government requirements, rules or statutes, the externally imposed deadlines are included is the factor on which the tolerance for schedule risks will be depended upon.


The Issue/Problem

Within the public sector, delivery excellence is promoted by competence and professionalism which are focused by project management. The programmed change initiatives are the only means through which the business transformation strategy is delivered meaningfully. The outcomes and capabilities are delivered if the corporate strategy is clearly linked to the design of the project and is well executed (Kerzner, 2013). In order to bring demonstrable benefit, things must be done right, and the right things must be done in managing projects. Within the public sector, for implementing the strategy the construct of projects is well established.
However, an over dependency on external support, a requirement for independent delivery assurance, an inconsistent organizational approach to project delivery, benefits failed to be delivered due to critical programs, uncertainty regarding the appropriate project management tool to be used, a lack of experienced project managers, and against the capacity and capability constraints the difficulty with prioritization of activities are a number of common delivery needs and anxieties that continue to pervade.

The Literature about the Issue/Problem

It is challenging to manage project especially when they involve constrained resources, unclear or shifting project requirements, unproven or new technology, and multiple stakeholders. With concerns to project management practices, the private sectors seem to be better off since there is a shortage of good project managers in the public sector.
While structuring a project, the importance of a comprehensive and systematic approach towards project planning is crucial. A project is more likely to be succeeding if it is planned in a more detailed way (White & Fortune, 2002). The project planning includes different parts, like, for implementation setting up the apparatus, designing its specifics, feasibility planning, and the nature of the proposed project activity.
The reasons behind the difficulty of the public sector projects are well defined in the book titled as ‘Public Sector Project Management’, which is written by David. For hiring and purchasing, requiring the performance and cooperation of agencies outside the project by performing under constraints and administrative rules imposed by it, having to operate under media scrutiny, political interests, and many layers of stakeholders with different interest are some of these reasons.
From the execution of a project when the initiation gets separated the problems arise most frequently. Overly optimistic assumptions about revenues and costs are often made by bidders to secure a project. This practice is called as self-serving bias by Max Bazerman. In the public sector, this practice turns good project managers into bad forecasters. The taxpayer is less rigorous after the event accountability to a paymaster of the project.
After examination of two hundred and ten road and rail projects in fourteen different countries, a study was published in the year of 2002 according to which wild optimistic future passengers were forecasted. Higher than eventual turnout, they were on an average an astounding of one hundred and six percent for the rail projects and in more than half the cases, the miscalculation of road projects were by over twenty percent. The Sydney Opera House is some other spectacular examples that were listed under cost estimation with actual costs approximately fifteen times higher in compare to the projected ones.
Some tools were identified by Mr. David about the role of complexity and chaos in the public sector projects, which can help manage uncertainty. Tools for dealing and recognizing with uncertainty and modern project management tools can be used by project managers which were listed as, change control processes, ongoing risk analysis and identification, deterministic versus stochastic estimating methods, project life cycles, and identification of issues (Wirick, 2009). For managing complex projects, the management and identification of bifurcation point, relational and contextual management, and social network analysis were the three tools that can be used without replace existing project management methods.

The Relevant Theories

Identification of the necessary performance, building trust within the employees and the personal goals of employees are the challenges for managers that employ expectancy theory. In order to break the direct link between the financial performance and compensation, expectations for managers of projects of public sector are provided by these theories of management. The change for employees to make a difference and the importance of interesting work are emphasized by them and are the factors that are often exhibited by the public sector projects (Munns & Bjeirmi, 1996). The opportunity to growth and engagement in the important work is the factors that are often expected by the employees in public-sector organizations.
In compare to the private sector employee, much more responsibility is given to public-sector employees in their tenure at earlier dates in many cases. This responsibility can act like a motivator and excite them.
Challenges are created for public-sector project managers by these management theories. However, a way to create project buy-in and a way to build trust with employees are required to be found by the project manager. The belief that the rewards value by the employees is resulted by the employee performance is required to be fostered by managers by those methods. Over time, extremely detailed stages of skepticism are learned by many employees of the public sector about whom the most managers of public sector are informed.

The Public-Sector Leadership
Some common themes make management and leadership distinct and sometimes definitions of management and leadership are not clear enough. Although the opportunities might not be well-framed, opportunities that are sought by leaders are known as risk takers. Framing the right questions for the organization and motivating people are the main focus for them. Both informal and formal sources of authority are exercised by leaders. Solving of identified problems is the main focus of managers. They focus on the reduction of organizational risk and task accomplishment.
In a public-sector project, the predominant role of the project manager is to focus on the management functions. With the least resources, they are focused on solving the assigned problem in the quickest time (Wart, 2003). Reducing the risk that affects the accomplishment of the task and the accomplishment of tasks set before them are their goals.
Two leadership roles are acquired by project managers. First, the projects and framed and selected for resolution by most project managers which requires asking the challenging questions and identification of opportunities that can contribute to strategic outcomes for the organization by developing projects. Second, project teams are led by the project managers. All of the functions of leadership that are exercised at an advanced level of agencies and organizations are compulsory by those project teams. Enhancing the capacities of the members of team, building the project’s vision and excite and motivate the members of the team are the responsibilities of the project managers. Effective project managers have the capability to do both functions of leadership and management.

The Identification of Key Actors and their Objectives

Planning for managing and identification of the resource acquisitions processes and purchasing, plan of the communication, plan of managing the quality inclusive of quality goals and metrics, plan of managing the risks with risk-response plans, analysis of risks and identified risks, schedule, project charter, human resource management plan, administrative and legal constraint management plan, budget inclusive of budget processes with necessary integration and WBS, are the features that must be involved in the plan of the project.
Dealing with emerging and known risks, preventing unnecessary changes, checking the quality of deliverables, assigning duties to project staff, conducting project team meetings, identifying the demanded modifications in the project and assessing and altering them in accordance to the plan of project, and overseeing the creation of project deliverables are the activities in which the project managers of public sector are engaged in (Dietrich & Lehtonen, 2005).
Identifying those who can assist in communications with stakeholders, like, aides to elected officials and identification of accessible points of contact, to assure compliance with legal processes and requirements the management of communications with vendors, to avoid political embarrassment or exposure the exercise of caution in communications, with different communication methods and styles responding to the varied interests of the stakeholders and over communicating with many stakeholders are the things that must be done by the public sector project managers.
Specific project risks are not dealt by planning of managing the risk. Instead, the plan of managing the risk is created by the risk management planning and for a public sector organization that plan can contain things, like, checklists of risk created by previous projects, risk terms, approaches for handling the exceptional constraints of public structures, categories of risks inclusive of media, legal and political risks, methods to identify risks, the format of risk reporting structures, accountable individuals for handling risks, and scales for identifying the critical risks and ranking them.

The Pursued Negotiated Strategies and Conflicts

The creation of risk list is allowed by risk identification in which all the risks of the project are listed which can be identified at the current time. Throughout the project, the risk identification needs to be performed periodically since additional risks become identifiable and risks change. Most of the project team must be involved in risk identification so that the expertise of the various perspectives and of the team can be drawn by the project manager and ownership of identified risks can be felt by the team members. Analysis of assumptions that are related to risks that are dealing with uncertainty, analysis of checklists created for prior or current projects, analysis of root causes, reviewing the project documentation and brainstorming are the strategies that can be used in accomplishing risk identification.


Managers are a breed by the private sector, whereas, administrators are a breed by the public sector. The ways of things are changed by the decisions made by the managers, whereas, processes defined by others are executed by administrators. To assure that the defined processes are executed properly by the staff is the primary goal someone who in the public sector runs a department of administrators. By contrast, the goal of an entrepreneur is to create something profitable and new that drive and unilateral decisions and reached through vision as he starts with a blank canvas, this reflects a clear difference.
To change in order to survive is the underlying imperative in the private sector. Good administration is the underlying imperative in the public sector. Those who assure the proper execution of existing processes are promoted by the public sectors, where, those who carry through change and will insight are promoted by the private sector.
To change things by being decisive and innovate is not the responsibility of the public sector managers; despite they need to assure the proper administration of the existing processes that clearly leaves the public sector with some disadvantages concerning to projects.
By commissioning consultants to write just such a process, the public sector will risk to the challenge if they were charged with the creation of new commercial enterprises. Entrepreneurs will be the name given to the senior administrators that are selected by them. It is the manner in which projects are approached by the public sector. First a project management process is outlined and written, then to learn the process, the people are sent on courses, which makes them the project managers and in the end, projects are assigned to them.


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White, D., & Fortune, J. (2002). Current practice in project management—An empirical study. International journal of project management, 20(1), 1-11. Retrieved from:
Wirick, D. W. (2009). Public-sector project management: Meeting the challenges and achieving results. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley. Retrieved from:,+risks+and+constraints+in+public+sector+projects&source=bl&ots=1WNiuJZYKg&sig=1GwiVslYz2XPMJkbCJKsACp0WPQ&hl=en&sa=X&ei=HQXjUYDOEKSF4gThsYDYAg&ved=0CEYQ6AEwBDgK#v=onepage&q=assumptions%2C%20risks%20and%20constraints%20in%20public%20sector%20projects&f=false


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