Capturing Upside Risk



Book Title: Capturing Upside Risk: Finding and Managing Opportunities in Projects
Author:  Dr David Hillson
Publisher:  CRC Press, Taylor and Francis
List Price:  $49.95
Format:  Hardcover, 270 pages
Publication Date:  June 2019
ISBN: 13: 978-0-8153-8251-5
Reviewer: Edwin S. Burt, PMP
Review Date: November 2019




The idea behind this book is that risk includes both opportunity and threat.  The idea is not new; in fact, global standards have generally accepted this as part of the definition of risk management.  Despite the accepted broader definition, a significant gap between theory and practice remains.  Organizations continue to limit their risk management approach only to threats.  The book spends time on modeling and other technical topics, but it is written in simple English and is a relaxed read.

The book’s focus is the application of the expanded definition of risk management to projects concentrating on where we might find upside risks in projects and how we might go about managing them.  Chapter one states that “Winning the War” is largely complete in the Definitions battle (accepted standards) but the outcome of the war remains to be settled in the field.  Mr. Hillson provides several useful ideas, process modifications and tool suggestions to win the battle of applied practice for ultimate victory.

Overview of Book’s Structure

The book has three sections: The first section includes three chapters dealing with why opportunities matter, a longer section on the process for managing opportunities in projects, and a final short section on making it work.  The case is made for including opportunity in the definition of risk, alongside threats, and explains how this is relevant to projects.  A structured risk process is presented based on both threats and opportunities in a single integrated approach.

The second section of the book is structured to provide a step-by-step guide to the project risk management process, with a chapter devoted to each step.  An initial discussion of the purpose and principles for each chapter sets out the scope and key points.  The risk process is examined in detail, focusing on finding and managing opportunities adapting threat-focused risk techniques.

The third section of the book is structured to provide Critical Success Factors to succeed at applying the broader inclusive definition of risk.  Process modifications are outlined, and direction provided on how software tools might be enhanced to support the approach.  There is a final emphasis that wider application of this concept requires the delivery of value both tangible and intangible to move organizations to require the management of both upside and downside risks.


Chapter one covered the general debate on the nature of opportunity and outlined the reluctance to act as well as remedies…


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About the Reviewer

Edwin S. Burt, PMP

Texas, USA




Edwin Burt has a background which includes Program and Project Management in real estate investment and deploying PC hardware, software and network infrastructure with a Fortune 200 IT company.  Led global program deploying PC hardware, software and network infrastructure using virtual teams in multiple global regions.  Strengths include project management, team building, leadership, verbal and written communications, team development and customer relationship management.  Industry Experience:  Real Estate, IoT, Transportation, Financial, Insurance (Medicare, Medicaid, Life, Property and Casualty), Education-Leadership Development, Data Center Operations.

Email address:  Attention:  Edwin S. Burt info@lostandfoundfund.com


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