Risk – mathematical and otherwise

I was just reading the blog by Professor John Adams  and saw a reference to a paper he wrote for The Mathematics Enthusiast that can be found here, or, for more of the papers, the whole edition of the journal here.

John makes some interesting points including questioning the claims of some groups for making Britain a safer place by the enactment of various road safety legislation such as seat belts.  John concludes, I think, that the reduction in deaths is due more to the development of the country accompanied by an increased risk aversion and a growing sense of collective responsibility than any particular piece of legislation or change in road design.  In fact the introduction of these merely reflects the collective sense of what is acceptable to the population at that time.

Professor Adams concludes by saying “Even when risks can be calculated with great numerical precision the numbers can only be used to inform judgment, not substitute for it.  And it matters greatly who is making the judgment.”  So risk is not an abstract, purely quantifiable notion; it is you and I and all those around us that influence how we respond.  The numbers may give us information but it is our experiences, our knowledge, our cultural background that determine what we do about it.

The power of Action Learning

Jackie has written a piece about some recent Action Learning work she has been doing – it shows how powerful this approach can be when all voices are included.  It can be read here.

Projects, Action Learning and other

It has been a while since we updated our news post, thankfully it is because we have been very busy. Over the last few months we have been working with a wide variety of organisations on how they develop better project management practices; this has included organisations undertaking biomedical research, a large PFI initiative, and organsiations in the not-for-profit sector. As well as improving project planning and control approaches we have used Myers Briggs (MBTI) Step II to look at how teams interact with each other, and we have also been running Action Learning sets for managers in the Health sector. To bolster our Action Learning capability Ian (one of our directors) has recently trained as an Action Learning Facilitator and will be applying this with project and programme managers looking to extend their development beyond the classroom and learn those most useful skills of excellent project managers of listening and asking open questions.

Higher Education Project Management

We have recently been selected to develop and deliver a series of project management workshops for project managers and project team members at one of the top UK universities. This builds on our extensive experience of working with operational and research staff in Higher Education Institutions in the UK.

Programme planning workshop

We have been asked to run a workshop for a programme manager and her team of project managers and others who will have responsibility for leading improvement projects within this organsiational change project. The focus will be on developing an initial programme plan that will show all the projects and their deliverables together with any interdependencies between projects in the programme or external projects.  It is hoped that this will get commitment from this diverse group of people to the imperatives of the programme when they all have other operational responsibilities and priorities.  We will follow this up with a workshop where they can look at developing realistic plans and management strategies for their individual projects.

Risk Management at UCL

We have been asked to develop and run a course on Risk Management for UCL (University College London) where we already run project management courses and have given advice to project managers.  In thinking about this I was reminded of the work of John Adams, who is now Emeritus Professor of Geography at UCL, and much of the work he has done on attitudes to risk.  For those who want more he has a web site at http://www.john-adams.co.uk/ where he maintains an interesting blog.  His book simply called “Risk” (see http://www.john-adams.co.uk/books/) makes fascinating reading and, I am sure, will change your attitude to risk.

Conference Presentation

We will be giving a masterclass in Project Management at the National Housing Federation’s annual conference in July, see here: http://tinyurl.com/cgjc39j

We have worked with many housing associations over the years to help them improve their project and risk management practices.  At the conference we hope to give some further food for thought and present some challenges to traditional project management thinking.

Interesting FT article

A few days ago I came across this article in the Financial Times:


It quotes Dr Stephen Carver of Cranfield Business School amongst others on the professionalism of the role of Project Manager, something that has been gathering pace over the last few years.  You may find it interesting.  It is a reflection on the way many become project managers, by being good at your job and then getting a promotion to project manager.  There is some discussion of the importance of the role of mentoring and coaching in the development of project managers, something we have been involved in for many years.

I particularly like the quote from one project manager who says “I do projects in spite of my company”.


New website launched

Here it is, the launch of our new website. After concentrating on getting the business going we knew it was time to get a web presence. It’s not completely finished (is it ever?); there is still a bit of work to do. Yet here at Redington Consultancy we are so excited by our new site that we couldn’t hold it back any longer.  If you have any comments, feedback or things you would like us to add then do contact us.