PAWS Chicago Fundraiser Audit (Team 1)

IMG_0698IMG_0683IMG_0685IMG_0681IMG_0682IMG_0700IMG_0691Team 1 is thrilled to announce the success of our fundraising project. The goal of our project was to organize a “Sunday Funday” brunch in an effort to raise money for PAWS Chicago. Thanks to some great friends, we were able to secure a location for our event at State Bar & Grill, located in Lincoln Park. The bar owner presented us with a great menu consisting of food and beverages. Our cost to the bar would be $20 per person. The agreement with the bar owner indicated that we could charge the attendees any amount, and the proceeds would be ours to donate to our respective charity. Therefore, we had decided to charge $35 for individual attendees or $65 for couples. In addition, team members worked with their employers to obtain items to be auctioned off, including tickets to a White Sox game, an overnight stay at various hotels in the city and suburbs, a bottle of Crown Royal and a wine set. Later added to our fundraising efforts was a website where individuals could donate to the charity without having to be present at the event. Overall, this project was a great success with our team raising nearly $2500 for PAWS Chicago.
The success of this fundraiser is attributed to the timely and effective completion of all project objectives including securing a location, menu, and financial obligations to the hosting facility, corresponding with the charity officials and obtaining marketing materials, initiating an online donation website and Facebook page, obtaining auction prizes, and most importantly advertising the event. Other deliverables included finalizing event logistics, mitigating liability, setting up prior to the event, collecting funds at the door, promoting auction items, and making sure everyone was having a great time. Our team was able to accomplish all of these objectives in an effective and efficient manner. Our original revenue projections indicated that our goal would be to raise $1,650, with a worst case scenario of $700. Thanks to the generosity of our friends and families, we were able to accumulate a revenue of approximately $2,500.
The only advice our team could give for future teams hosting similar fundraising events is to start advertising earlier. Our initial expectation was that we would collect funds from attendees prior to the event, in order to have an approximate idea of how many people to expect and eliminate the risk of people backing out at the last minute. Also, we would advise future teams to get more involved with the charity and reach out to them for help in promoting the event.
Upon completion of this project, we learned that teamwork and constant communication are essential to the success of a project. As team members asked more questions to each other, we were able to better prepare for unknown obstacles that could have transpired during the event and eliminate the majority of the risk associated with this project. In addition, we also learned that the project plan is never set in stone and adjustments could be made, if necessary, in order to increase the success of the project or mitigate certain known risks. Our final lesson learned is relative to our budget or financial obligation. When making the revenue projections, we failed to include a gratuity for the servers, bartenders and bar owner. Thanks to a few quick adjustments, we were able to overcome that and still be able to achieve a greater revenue than was projected.

Thank you all who helped make this event such a success!

How to Effectively Manage Project Risk

When most of us think of project management, we think of schedules, costs, margins, charters, scopes and deliverables. However, many of us seem to overlook one of the most important variables in project management: risk. There are two primary forms of risk; foreseeable such as delays in material arrival, whether conditions or other tangible risk that could have been predicted and mitigated or accounted for. However, there could also be unforeseeable risk factors that many managers do not account for in the scheduling or cost equations. An article posted in takes the reader through a “Five-Step Risk Management Process.” According to the articles, the first step in project risk management is risk identification. To most of us who have lead teams in projects, understand the importance of this step during the planning phase. However, the author of this article enforces the importance of assessing risk sporadically throughout the duration of the project using tools such as process flowcharts, analogous project comparisons, risk checklists, work breakdown structures, and brainstorming. The second step in risk management is to quantify the risk. It is vital to assess the probability that the risk will occur and subsequent consequences that are possible with regard to project schedule, cost, scope and quality.
Another step in risk management is to initiate a risk response plan. Also, identifying the risk as positive or negative will enhance the effectiveness of the risk response plan, allowing project managers to focus on avoiding or mitigating negative risk and exploiting positive risk to their advantage. The next step to risk management is continual monitoring and control of risks. Whether foreseeable or not, many times we get so focused on meeting deadlines and staying on budget that we forget to evaluate and control risk as it comes up. Monitoring and controlling risk should be a day to day operation for project managers, rather than a one time activity.
This article mentions that project managers are to predict foreseen and unforeseen risks. In most cases this is easier said than done. I was recently working on a project at work. We had outlined all the potential risks that could affect our schedule and bottom line. In addition this was a long term project that should have evolved into a full-time corporate initiative if successful. As the project continued, there were some unpredictable legal and regulatory changes that had come up in lieu of ObamaCare and other government initiatives. Although we knew these changes were coming, there was no way to predict when and how it will begin to affect Medicare Advantage plans. The timelines had been postponed numerous times so it was a difficult circumstance to predict. Nevertheless, there were no margins built into this project to accommodate the possibility of these new changes. Had the project management team assessed the circumstances and risk throughout the duration of the project, we could have accounted for these changes and avoided a major financial and schedule setback.
Have you ever experienced a risk that could have been mitigated if the five rules above were incorporated?

Taylor, Michael. “How to Effectively Manage Project Risks.” ITBusinessEdge, 2012, QuinStree, Inc.

Automation of Project Management: Success or Failure?

Many times, most of us would consider automating a process would mean it is doomed for success. According to a new article posted in CMSWire, automating a project gives it a higher probability of failure. This is in part due to major emphasis on the automation of certain processes, making projects’ outcomes very difficult to comprehend, very time consuming and extremely costly. Barry Shaeffer, author of “Successful Automatiom Project Planning, Implementation By the Numbers,” wrote, “While technology has raced ahead, our ability to deploy it has lagged. Indeed, we are scarcely better at successful projects than we were decades ago, a sad fact often obscured by organizations’ natural reticence to talk about their failures (”
So why is it that our workforce is becoming more educated, organizations are investing significantly larger amounts of capital and our technological infrastructure has evolved immensely, but we are still not successful with the majority of projects taken on by corporate America? Shaeffer has analyzed this question and has come up with six crucial caveats which could help organizations, large and small, increase the chances of successful completion of most projects:
1. Starting Right: You can’t win if you don’t know your team
2. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: What works, and what really needs fixing
3. Automate the chaos and you end up with … Automated Chaos
4. What you get depends on what you ask for; RFI or RFP
5. Find the Vendors that can really help you
6. Do Your Technology with a Full Hand

Although I was extremely surprised to find this information to be true, I looked back at the last few projects I had worked on in my previous organizations. Starting with the most recent, Cigna is holding a financial review for a group of doctors. There are approximately 13 provider groups in this “POD” and I was in charge of compiling and analyzing the financial metrics for this group to present at the monthly financial overview. I thought this would be a no brainer since I have been working closely with this region. However, when I began my quest for this information, I quickly realized that this would not be an easy feat. It took me almost an entire working day, approximately six hours, just to retrieve the needed metrics. I had to go through several separate departments, all of whom pointed fingers at one another, indicating that the other department was in charge of that information. I could have compiled the spreadsheets and analyses the information in a much shorter time if our system allowed this information to be tracked in one location. Also, as it turns out, there is a great misconception about the duties and daily responsibilities of each department. In addition, Cigna spends 3 million per year on IT issues and implementation. However, it seems like they have just used those fund to automate more chaos.

Article information:
Shaeffer, “Barry. Successful Automation Project Planning, Implementation by the Numbers.” June 12, 2013.