The work of any business or non-profit organization in the world is set up in order to achieve the established goals (Wang, 2000). Some organizations and enterprises are aimed at making profit of their activities that include sales, promotion, distribution, etc (Wang, 2000).
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Others, like for instance the governmental agencies and other non-profit organizations, have their aims in developing the social wellbeing, increasing the standards of living of the country’s citizens, care about the facilitation of the development of social institutions, etc (Cooper, 2005). What unites these processes is that they all are subjected to the concept of risk, i. e. something that might, or might not, happen in a certain moment to affect the organization or its part in a certain way and to a certain extent. Thus, risk management is the paramount task for project managers of any level, especially if the matter concerns the individual level and the points of personal safety, i. e. the level of micro-events.
Project Risk Management
Thus, to begin the analysis of the project risk management procedures involved to handle the micro-event level, it is necessary to identify a specific small-or medium-size project facing certain risks (Cooper, 2005; Prusak, 2009). For the consideration in this paper I propose to use the example of the innovation project implemented by the PTI Company that deals with providing various informational, software, etc. services to its customers all around the globe (Apgar, 2006).
Being a worldwide company with its branches in various countries, PTI has recently faced the necessity to modernize the system of communication between its employees on all levels of its organizational structure (Prusak, 2009). Thus, ordinary employees, managers, and the executive management of the company have faced the necessity to introduce the new instant messaging system for the internal use in the PTI’s offices, so that to ensure the proper coordination of their work and joint attempts to reach the company’s goals concerning market development, enlarging its customer base, and facilitating the proliferation of its organizational culture (Apgar, 2006; Cooper, 2005).
The system of instant messaging that PTI Company selected for its internal communication is the so-called QuickTalk allowing its users, as well as numerous other instant messaging systems, to reach any person using a computer at the moment in any place of the world (Apgar, 2006). The scale of the project seems to be huge but the initial stages have been intended for the selected office of PTI in order to monitor the project risks and possible outcomes and to foresee the possibility to implement the project at the larger scale (Apgar, 2006; Prusak, 2009). Needless to say that the project has manifested numerous micro-events that made the project managers in PTI consider project risk management basics more attentively (Cooper, 2005; Turbit, 2009).
Micro-events in the Project Environment
First of all, it is necessary to identify the importance of a micro-event for any project and to define the notion of risk in this context (Prusak, 2009). As far as the individual level of safety is concerned, micro-events are especially important as they happen exclusively at this level of project accomplishment. Individual safety and risk management thus are possible to monitor, measure and facilitate only through the examination of micro-events under the risk (Connley, Rad, & Botzum, 2004).
The latter, in its turn, is defined as the extent to which an undesired loss or any other negative consequence can happen to this or that project (Turbit, 2009). What makes micro-events significant is also their dependency on individuals exclusively. The organization cannot be sure about any detail in the life of any of its employees, while those details can substantially affect the progress of the project in case if they prevent a certain employee from fully participating in the project (Connley, Rad, & Botzum, 2004).
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The project by the PTI Company also displays certain micro-events connected with the risk associated with this project. First of all, involving over 50 employees and managers from that particular office of PTI, the project of instant messaging system implementation is associated with the risks of personal micro-events that might include the inability of a person to handle the messaging system implemented, intentional or occasional ignoring of the rules of its handling and operation, ignoring or mere forgetting the demands of the executive management about the strict compliance to those rules, etc (Hillson & Simon, 2007).
Moreover, the personal background issues that an employee might experience in his or her outside-of-office life can prevent him or her from the proper participation in the project and can cause the risks predicted to happen. Drawing from this, it is evident that micro-events in every project can be of two types, i. e. those possible to predict and the ones that are not.
Classification of Micro-events Identified
First of all, the predictable micro-events are those that the project managers can easily foresee in their project guidelines and take measures beforehand in order to prevent them or to eliminate their consequences at the lowest cost possible (Conrow, 2003).
The examples of such micro-events on the whole include the training of employees to comply to the requirements of a project and strict control over the project implementation as conditioned by the predictability of rules ignoring from employees’ side, etc (Hillson & Simon, 2007). Concerning the PTI Company project under consideration, the predictable micro-events can include the forgetting of the managerial staff to train the employees in a proper way as for the use of QuickTalk messaging system, the ignoring or careless attitude of workers towards the system, etc (Conrow, 2003).
However, there is another type of the predictable micro-events that concerns the things that the company cannot influence by any means. They include the outside influences upon the employees and managers, family issues, private troubles, etc (Conrow, 2003). Drawing from this, the micro-events of the predictable kind can be further subdivided into two major subtypes that include the micro-events that are in the organization’s control and out of it (Connley, Rad, & Botzum, 2004).
For example, in case if the PTI Company develops a plan or project risk management for its instant messaging system implementation, it might foresee both the careless attitudes of its employees and the probability that the latter will be affected by something else outside their jobs (Schuyler, 2001). However, the company can control and influence only the first type of predictable micro-events, while its ability to influence the family issues of employees or solve their psychological issues is way too doubted (Hillson & Simon, 2007).
On the contrary, the micro-events that might happen as risk manifestations to the project and cannot be predicted by project managers in any case are called ‘unpredictable’ (Turbit, 2009). Their main danger lies in the fact that the project managers cannot prepare their project teams for these micro-events and not always even can eliminate the consequences of the unpredictable micro-events (Schuyler, 2001).
The general examples of the unpredictable micro-events can include the health state of every particular employee that might deteriorate at a certain point of time rather suddenly, the technological complications that an employee might have with either reaching the work place or operating a certain device or software program (Schuyler, 2001). As for PTI Company project, the unpredictable micro-events whose consequences cannot be overcome can be observed in its project as the project manager suddenly fell ill, and the company had to look for the substitute and put the project on hold for some time (Dunbar, 2006).
On the other hand, the unpredictable micro-events that can be fought with include on the whole personal attitudes of employees, their preferences and the extent to which the social opinions and currently dominant trends are affecting their positions (Dunbar, 2006). The project under consideration faces such micro-events as well as the modernization of communication means meets numerous obstacles because the employees and managers can have other preferences as for messaging systems, their conveniences and ease of use (Dunbar, 2006). Faced by such preferences, the project of QuickTalk implementation can be carried out slower than intended a time will be needed to demonstrate the advantages of the system chosen to those who oppose it (Schuyler, 2001; Dunbar, 2006).
Qualitative Micro-event Analysis
Thus, having considered the major risks associated with the project that the PTI Company is currently developing and having examined the major types of micro-events, both predictable and unpredictable, it is possible now to carry out the qualitative analysis of the two predictable micro-events as for the rate of their being risky (Conrow, 2003). To grade the risks of the events chosen, i. e. micro-events that can be both predicted and influenced and those that can only be predicted, it is necessary to understand that there is are four stages included into the risk analysis, as well as four major rates which can be applied to the risks, i. e. low, medium, high, and critical (Turbit, 2009). Moreover, the risks are also analyzed according to their probability and seriousness of their impact (Turbit, 2009).
Thus, the micro-events in PTI project include both predictable only and predictable and solvable events. This is due to the fact that no project manager is able to foresee everything, and even is he or she does, it is impossible to affect any event, because such occurrence as death of a relative or a quarrel with a husband cannot be changed by the project manager (Conrow, 2003; Kendrick, 2003). However, such items as careless attitude to work, ignoring of the CEO’s requirements as for the project, etc. can and must be affected by the project managers as these are the factors that undermine the whole project and the joint strategic aims of the whole company (Wang, 2000).
Quantitative Micro-event Analysis
The analysis of the unpredictable micro-events should be quantitative as far as the losses that the PTI Company might suffer because of them can be rather considerable (Noller, 2007). For example, the already mentioned deterioration of the employees’ health state cannot be predicted and by far cannot be affected through any possible means by the company (Noller, 2007; Jutte, 2009). Drawing from this, the basics of predictability are put into the issues of health insurance in numerous companies, which makes it easier for the companies to fight such unpredictable micro-events happening to any of the individuals the company employs ( Jutte, 2009; Kendrick, 2003).
The same can be said about the technologically conditioned micro-events, for example the ones concerning with the lack of IT education of employees or purely mechanical contingencies that include car break up, etc (Kendrick, 2003).
On the other hand, if the unpredictable micro-events belong to the class of those whose effects can be overcome and eliminated, they include such points as the shift in personal preferences conditioned by the social influence and the currently dominated phenomena (Kujawski, 2002).
For example, in case if an employee is interested in the information technology development, he or she might consider the QuickTalk instant messaging system to be outdated or inconvenient and this might result in his or her reluctance to do their best for the success of the project. Thus, the company can influence this attitude of the employee by demonstrating the advantages that then messaging system might bring to the company’s work (Kujawski, 2002). As well, the project managers and the CEO of the PTI Company might just insist on the employee’s conformity to the company’s demands in respect of the project in accordance with the PTI recruitment policy and organizational culture (Hillson & Simon, 2007).
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Statement of Work Carried Out
Thus, it is evident that the thorough consideration of the major risks and micro-events connected with them, which is presented in this paper, became possible only after the hard work on both analyzing the secondary sources providing the theoretical information on the topic of risks management and considering the primary data from the PTI Company concerning its project of implementation the QuickTalk instant messaging system.
The works consulted for the completion of this work include the book dedicated to the topics of risk management (Apgar, 2006; Connley, Rad, & Botzum, 2004; Conrow, 2003; Cooper, 2005), as well as report and articles (Cooper, 2003; Kujawski, 2002; Noller, 2007) and reputable online resources (Dunbar, 2006; Jutte, 2009; Prusak, 2009; Turbit, 2009). Therefore, this paper can be considered a well-documented and research-supported work on the topic or risk management and its individual level including the micro-events happening in it.
To make the respective conclusion to this paper, it is necessary to state that what unites the processes of activity of business and non-profit organizations is that they all are subjected to the concept of risk, i. e. something that might, or might not, happen in a certain moment to affect the organization or its part in a certain way and to a certain extent. Thus, risk management is the paramount task for project managers of any level, especially if the matter concerns the individual level and the points of personal safety, i. e. the level of micro-events. Understanding the differences between predictable and unpredictable micro-events, project risk managers can easily analyze them and modify their policies so that to face risks with the greater degree of preparedness.
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