What this book is about

This book makes no attempt to cover all aspects of project management. However, it addresses project risk management as a process that is an 'add-in' to the project management process as a whole, rather than an 'add-on'. The need to integrate these processes is central to the argument and to the basic position adopted by this book.

The need to start to understand project risk management by understanding processes is also central to our case. The details of models or techniques or computer software are important, but they are not of direct concern here.

Senior managers who want to make intelligent use of risk management processes without depending on their risk analysts need to understand most of this book (the exceptions are signposted). Those who wish to participate effectively in risk management processes also need to understand most of this book. Those who wish to lead risk management processes need to understand this book in depth and a wide range of additional literature on technique, model and method design, and computer software.

A very important message emphasized here is that project risk management in the context of any particular project can be viewed as a project in its own right, as part of a multiproject environment concerned with all other aspects of project management, such as planning resources, building teams, quality management, and so on. An immediate implication of this view is a need to 'plan the risk management process' as part of a process of 'planning the project planning process'. In the absence of another source of quality audit for project management, this also implies using the risk management process to make sure all other desirable aspects of project management are in place. A more subtle and far-reaching implication is that everything we know about project management in general, and multiproject management in particular, applies to the project risk management process itself.

There is an inevitable circularity in the ideal structure for such a book, largely because of the iterative nature of risk management processes. The authors have restructured it several times to avoid approaches that overtly failed. We believe the present structure works, but the reader will have to be the judge. A range of different approaches to this book might be suggested, from 'work your way through each chapter in detail before going on to the next', to 'skim the whole book and then go back to the bits of most interest'. We leave the readers to judge what best suits their inclinations, with a few hints we hope are useful.

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