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Risk Analysis Case Study Synaptic

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    Analysis of Risks Introduction: Synaptic is a bio technology company that uses a combination of both Information Management (IM) and biological research to develop drugs based on proteins and peptides. Synaptic is comprised of a large Information Management department which consists of multiple divisions within the department. Each division within the IM is in charge of communications and computer systems services, in particular research, manufacturing and infrastructure. The company also employs computational scientists that aid with the research aspect of the product development.

    The development of the product makes it necessary for both set of parties – the Information Management and the scientists to interact with each other. Department under the Information management provides support to the scientists in providing database and server space, data storage, execution of reports and software development. The close collaboration of both set of groups is necessary for carrying out the various projects and consequently developing the product. The collaboration of the two very distinct groups has caused several challenges within the company.

    One of the biggest challenges is the difference in cultures between both groups (Makarov). The scientific group place emphasis on innovation and promptness. They prefer working in privacy rather than in teams. They also don’t place much importance in documenting processes and procedures in carrying out their projects. These differences were possibly initiated by the career paths between the two professionals. These cultural differences have caused drastic decisions to be made; due to lack of risk management, this has led to serious issues within the company.

    This paper analyzes the problems that have occurred due to lack of proper project management steps and risk management and also provides recommendations on how to mitigate such issues in the future. Analysis: In order to develop a strategy to help mitigate some of the issues plagued with the Synaptic Company, it is important to first analyze the challenges that led to issues that eventually led the company to risks. The vast difference in cultures between the two groups caused friction in their collaboration of developing a project.

    The scientific group preferred working privately as opposed to team work. They believed in innovation and the promptness in completing a project. They did not value the importance of documenting procedures and new processes. The Information Management group on the other places emphasis on the importance of documenting procedures. They advocated following formal business processes as an attempt to resolve the differences between both the groups (Makarov). These formal business processes were eventually refused by the scientific team as they preferred a more informal method of communicating.

    This rebellion eventually led one of the scientists, Steve Levitt to conduct his own program on his own Oracle Database within his office. Steve continued his work on his private server. Most of the work that he did was not completely familiar with his fellow colleagues. He was repeatedly solicited by the Research Information Management group to document his computational procedures. He didn’t take any action on these requests. The next issue that developed from this lack of action was that some of the data that was generated from Steve Levitt’s computational work was incorrect.

    The Research Management team was requested to fix the data validation issue that was caused by Steve Levitt. Without proper documentation of the processes it was difficult for the department to resolve the issue. To mitigate this issue and prevent it from occurring again, a new position was created to serve as a liaison between both parties. Recommendations: The management team of the company has recommended creating a new consulting position to serve as a liaison between both the departments. It is important for this consultant to ensure a governance process is set in place to manage and monitor any new processes/projects that are developed.

    This governance process should also include a ‘change control board’ that will analyze these new requests for process change and approve and disapprove the requests. All processes will need to be analyzed and approved prior to being carried out. It is important for Synaptic Corporation to adopt a project management check list for their projects, as this will help monitor their processes and any issues that might evolve. This check list has to be made mandatory for every project. As mentioned in the case study, IM management tried to impose formal business processes for projects but it was abandoned by the scientists.

    And this eventually led to Steve Levitt starting his own server and database and finally the crisis of the wrong data that left to the company resolve the problem. As a lesson learned it is important to enforce a checklist or some form of process documentation. It is also necessary to make the checklist more user friendly to cater to the all the different users of the company, in particular the scientists who dislike formal business processes A project management check list will allow projects to follow a systematic approach to documenting their procedures.

    It is important for every project to develop a scope statement, schedule and allocated resources. A scope will help keep a project on track and will allow you to detect any constraints within the project. Every major project must adopt a risk management plan to track all the issues and risks involved with a project. Weekly collaboration meetings should be conducted, and any possible risks faced within the project must be discussed, as well as possible mitigation strategies.

    In order to detect any constraints within the project, a project manager must review the differences between the original project plan and the current one in terms of scope, schedule, and resource (Kendrick, 2009). There can be some form of flexibility within a project to allow room for any possible risks, changes or challenges that might come about. Risk management operation processes include gathering data on both the negative and positive impacts. Once this is gathered, the impact needs to be analyzed and sized. Stakeholders need to be notified of the risks and their response towards it needs to be evaluated.

    After this, risk management and mitigation strategies need to be developed. Projects with great risk impacts need action and contingency plan developed to keep the project afloat (Heldman, 2009). There are several management plans that can aide with the management of risks such as the pro-active risk management, project risk ranking, and the PERIL database. Pro-active risk management is process that allows for items to be discovered and resolved before they happen. By doing so, the project team can therefore put in procedures that should minimize, if not eliminate the risk.

    According to Baccarini & Archer, “resources will be directed to manage projects with the higher risk ranking (pp. 140, 2001)”. With the addition of more resources, the probability that the project will be completed successfully on time and on budget is much higher. This is advantageous for the management of IT projects. Conclusion: Many projects are victims of failure due to unrealistic goals/objectives, lack of resources, poor project selection and lack of adequate risk assessment. The management team at Synaptic Corporation did not strictly enforce the need for a project management check list.

    The check list would be helpful in documenting procedures and keeping track of any issues that might creep up during the progress of a project. It is important for the company to be more accommodating of the different cultures. Weekly meetings need to be set up to keep both parties in collaboration. The Steve Levitt crisis needs to be used as a lessons learned in establishing a governance structure. It needs to be mandatory for every project to develop a risk management plan to detect issues early on and mitigate it before it snowballs into a risk.

    Some benefits of recording risks include portrayal of a project’s credibility, increases project value, lowers overall cost, triggers upgrade in activities, establishes project priority and reduces risk (Kendrick, pp. 8). The benefits of establishing a risk management plan outweighs the cost and effort taken to build it. References Kendrick, T. (2009). Identifying and managing project risk. (2nd ed. , pp. 2-89). New York: AMACOM. Heldman, K. (2009). PMP Project Management Professional Exam Study Guide (5th ed. , pp. 45-283). Indianapolis, Indiana: Wiley Publishing, Inc. Makarov,V. Research Information Management at Synaptic.

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