Keith Baxter's book is extraordinary in its scope and depth. It brings alive a subject that is often seen as dull and for people who "want to hold things back".
The book fills some big gaps in project risk management - although the book goes way beyond risk-management-within-projects. In particular, the ABCD method (Assumption Based Communication Dynamics) will be something of a revelation for Project Managers and I suspect many will want to try it out immediately.
For me as a seasoned PM in the IT arena, I've always felt/known that assumptions are at the core of why projects get derailed, but with this book, Keith Baxter confirms not only that this is true but he articulates why it is true and how to properly manage your way through.
After reading the book, the standard risk register with its simplistic probability vs impact scores suddenly seems like over-documented yet under-managed shelfware; perhaps at home in a project heavy with documentation and 'noise' but with little place in a modern and often agile project where people need to quickly see the wood for the trees.
I found Keith's take on risk management an enjoyable and enlightening read for a number of reasons.
Clear, concise and easy to read; his ABCD approach provides a unique methodology for looking at risk in terms of the assumptions we make in every day business and how this can help shape our view to a more positive and enlightening view of risk for the enterprise.
The book is well structured such that it is easy to pick up at any page and dip into different aspects of the risk management process. A book that I feel should be on the bookshelf of any business executive involved in managing risk within their organisation. Highly recommended.
What I really like about this book is that it gives you just enough theory to make you understand and then backs it up with loads of implementation tips that gets to the heart of the subject very quickly. The book is very well laid out so that you can you read it in a logical sequence or just dip-in. Clearly a lot of thought gone into this. And lots of diagrams too - always a good thing.
So many positives to this book. It takes you through basic risk management to very advanced thinking concisely, without padding - it gets to the point quickly but also backs up the theory with clear examples and case studies. Unlike other books I have read on this subject, this one introduces you to completely new concepts of risk management. Thoroughly recommended.
This book covers the ABCD risk process, assumptions analysis and much more. As someone with first hand experience of using the ABCD risk process, I can testify that this stuff really works. Keith Baxter is the ABCD risk process "guru" and his book is guaranteed to change the way you think about risk management. Essential reading for project managers in all businesses.
This is an easy-to-read text, nicely bound, as are they all in the Prentice-Hall Pearson Fast-Track-Me series.
After reading a couple of chapters, it would be easy to categorise this book as a tick-box text; good for improving your performance in interview or management discussions. There is more to it than that.
Baxter establishes an ABCD classification system for business and management issues. This system can be formed into a 4 x 4 matrix to consider joint-issues or complementary decisions and is well described. However, it is only on page 45 that you get an example described is sufficient detail that you can see how the author wishes the methodology to be applied. Until then, there is copious description and assumption-forming, and you find yourself think, "Hmmm. OK. Suppose so. If you say so." After that, there is an example at the end of each section and the methodology becomes clearer.
The later chapters are very interesting and imaginative. He extends the analysis into career planning, the uses of technology, leadership profiles and much more. At the end, you have a bag of ABCD tools and ideas that help clarify your approach to risky decisions. He stops at 4 x 4 analysis, and it would be interesting to see it developed into more complex multi-dimensional decisions using 4 x 4 x 4 volume-space or even hyperspace through a specialised computer application.
Baxter is dismissive of "traditional" risk assessment and management, and his treatment of uncertainty could be regarded as naive. The concept is not considered anywhere in any detail, and mentioned in passing from page 182 in a main text of 214 pages. His use of the terms "probability" and "likelihood" are specific to his ABCD approach and may be considered idiosyncratic. For some reason, he seems to eschew mathematical approaches as if their apparent accuracy and cardinality should be held against them. I got the feeling that he does not wish to offend potential readers by using quantitative methods with which they may not be very adept.
Having said all this, his ABCD model is consistent and sufficiently self-contained to form a valid approach that will be of value to many aspiring managers. I shall certainly use it; applied in a real-life situation of my acquaintance, to see if its consistency leads to better decisions than methods currently in use.
This book finally brings Risk Management into the 21st century! For far too long we've trodden the road of traditional risk management and wondered why we're hitting the same road blocks as everyone else. This book takes us on a different journey which is both simpler (but not simple) and elegant in its simplicity.
For those wishing to understand a better way to gather Strategic or operational risks, this book gives you the road map to show you how to approach the topic in a pragmatic and practical way. There is a great balance between theory and practical advice and tips throughout the book which will get you moving forward quickly and easily.
I have been involved in Risk Management for over 15 years and found this a fresh and appealing approach which I'll certainly be implementing in the coming weeks, months and years.
In summary, if you're new to Risk Management then this book is definitely for you. If you're an old hand in Risk Management then this book is an absolute must! As the old saying goes; Do what we've always done... Get what we've always got!