In this movie we'll continue with a review of the Internal and External factors that influence and make up the Project Environment. The Project Environment plays a big role in Risk Management, which is one of the reasons we're devoting so much time to it. So far we've touched on Organizational Structures, which make up part of the first item listed under Internal Factors. You'll notice that Culture is also mentioned here. There are different layers to the cultural aspect. It can mean company culture, or ethnic culture, even religious, and economic culture comes into play. Understanding the company's culture and the culture of those involved within the project is important for communication purposes. This alone can present risks if communication has not been assessed and planned for. Next, I had mentioned Project Stakeholders and how this also includes the suppliers. Knowing who your stakeholders are and what their level of influence is impacts the project and is part of the Project Environment. Stakeholders have varying levels of interest and it's the responsibility of the Project Manager to understand what the expectation of a stakeholder is, their level of influence, and their own personal objectives in regards to the project. These three things are important. Imagine how many stakeholders the project has and therefore how many varying levels of interest, personal agendas, and objectives that there are. Can you already see how the level of project risk is impacted by the wants and the needs of the stakeholders and their level of influence, what exists as part of the project's environment? We'll go through Stakeholder Identification in greater detail later on in this course. Next, we have the Competition. Sometimes this is reflected as part of the External Project Environment. For purposes of this course we'll place it as Internal, since the Competition may impact the direction of the scope of the project. The same for Consumers. Knowing the expectations of the consumers is part of the Project Environment. What is the current level of expectation of your target audience? And, lastly, we have Technology and Use. There are a few layers to this as well. What technology is the project relying on? What technology is currently available? And, what technology is the project creating? Now let's look at the External factors. These factors can greatly influence the project as well, although the project is not a direct result of these factors. We have: Natural Environment; Financial and Economical Situation; the Industry; Human and Health Safety; Political; and Legal. All these factors influence the project and make up the External Environment. I'll take a moment to remind you to keep risk and how these factors impact Risk Management in the back of your mind at all times. By Natural Environment I'm referring to things like weather, natural disasters, and other obstacles resulting from weather occurrences. If the location the project is being conducted in is susceptible to thunderstorms that tend to cause electricity outages, that needs to be accounted for in the project. The project team needs to be aware that this is the environment that the project must function in. Another example is storing equipment utilized by the project in a location that has very high temperatures. This may require that the room temperature be regulated carefully. This also involves taking into consideration the local ecology, the physical geography, and understanding where there are restrictions such as protected areas. Understanding the financial and economical situation is certainly important, especially during times of recession and rapid growth. Imagine the real estate industry over the past few years, how quickly it rose, and just as quickly dropped. Anything happening within the industry becomes part of your Project Environment. Although we touched on Competition as an Internal factor, impacting the project's environment, knowing what the Competition is doing is also tied into industry. You'll notice that some of these are intertwined. An example is Human and Health Safety. You can look at this from a legal standpoint: Human and Health Safety Regulations. You can also look at this from the standpoint of existing conditions where the project is taking place. Political factors to keep in mind include: International and local laws; Customs; whether the political climate can affect your project, and this is something that especially needs to be considered in off-shore projects where you may not be familiar with how the system works. Legal includes several items as well and can be tied into Political factors. Intellectual Property Rights is just one big example. Most factors noted here are self-explanatory. You can imagine all types of scenarios that impact the Project Environment, and some of these are especially important when the project involves offshore locations, as I mentioned with the Political factors. I worked on several projects abroad where the social and political climate had to be carefully assessed. I'll wrap up this movie by mentioning that managing the overall Project Environment calls into play a Project Manager's soft skills, such as being able to influence these factors when possible, being able to manage stakeholders, and even being able to manage a PR Program to keep communication flowing on multiple ends. We'll go through Interpersonal and Communication Skills in greater detail later on in this course. As a final comment, I'll reiterate that being aware of the Internal and External factors that exist within the Project Environment, and learning how to manage and influence these factors where possible, is important to Project and Risk Management.
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