Polaris lessons in Risk Management


polaris-fleet-ballistic-missileBook Title:  Polaris lessons in Risk Management

Author:  Dr. John Byrne, PMP

Publisher:  Multi-Media Publications, Inc.

List Price:   US$29.95

Format:  Soft cover; 215 pages

Publication Date:   2011

ISBN-13: 978-1-55489-097-2

Reviewer:      Wayne Raley

Review Date:              October 2012

Introduction to the Book

Risk management is presented from an historical perspective using the Polaris Fleet Ballistic Missile program as a great example to show how to manage risk on a complex large program. Uses the examples of a wide range of risks to suggest how you might approach managing the risks on any project of any size. It covers the options available to you to manage risk.

Overview of Book’s Structure

Following the introduction the book covers the news shattering announcement that Sputnik 1 had been launched and that the U.S. was seriously behind in the technology to deliver nuclear warheads via missiles. It then develops the risk management approaches used to address and manage the associated risks. Risk management is then addressed by developing the following six risk topics. 1) Risk Management Planning  2) Risk Identification  3) Qualitative Risk Analysis  4) Quantitative Risk Analysis  5) Risk Response Planning  6) Risk Monitoring and Control.

The conclusion compares the successful Navy Polaris program to the NASA Apollo program. The program and project approaches used by both agencies are great examples of how to accomplish seemingly impossible objectives with a systematic program and project methodology. The appendices cover various project management topics including earned value management.

Highlights: What’s New in this Book

This book covers both the history and practical application of the then emerging and the now much more mature program and project methodologies in a fashion that is very readable by both history buffs as well as all executives and managers including program and project level professionals. I deem it must reading if your organization deals with complex issues, programs and projects.


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About the Reviewer

wayne-raleyflag-usaWayne Raley

Wayne Raley is a senior IT Infrastructure Program Project Manager with extensive experience with Fortune 500, government and small company strategic planning, implementation, security, service management, monitoring and application deployment. Information technology program / project management, chemical manufacturing, and IT.  Analytical problem solver that thrives on change and team building to solve complex challenges. Solid business acumen with unique blend of large and small data center support skills. Successful Information Technology for banks, airlines, aerospace, chemical manufacturing, process control, sales, sales support, and telecommunications. Focused on achieving results. Manage with vision, leadership and extensive business and IT process knowledge escalating and managing issues and risks. Stakeholders include C-level and above management, business users, support services, multiple vendors, and outsourced resources. Manage requirements, scope, detailed work plans, schedules, cost estimates, resource plans, communications, budgets, dependencies, risks, changes and status.  Contact at [email protected] Garland, TX, USA.

Editor’s note:  This book review was the result of cooperation between the publisher, PM World Inc and the Dallas Chapter of the Project Management Institute (www.pmidallas.org). Publishers provide books to PM World, books are delivered to the PMI Dallas Chapter where they are given to chapter members who commit to providing a book review in a standard format; the reviews are published in the PM World Journal and PM World Library.  Since PMI Dallas Chapter members are generally mid-career professionals, they represent the intended audience for most PM books.  If you are an author or publisher of a book related to program or project management, and would like the book reviewed through this program, please contact [email protected].