Tutorial: Ethnography for Project Risk Analysis and Quality Assurance

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Instructor: PATRICIA ENSWORTH, Harborlight Management Services LLC & New York University

Learn the core vocabulary, concepts, and methods of project managers, risk managers, and quality assurance managers, and explore how they align with ethnographic practices and expertise.

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Overview

This tutorial was conducted at EPIC2021. Exercises and discussions have been omitted to protect the privacy of participants.

In this tutorial participants will learn the core vocabulary, concepts, and methods of project managers, risk managers, and quality assurance managers, and explore how they align with ethnographic practices and expertise. This understanding helps us build bridges to domains such as Legal, Operations, and Compliance, and elevate the impact of our work on the products, services, and strategies of the organizations you serve.

Participants will become familiar with standard Project Management Body of Knowledge and Agile processes, tools, and templates for risk and quality management: identification of seldom-noticed stakeholders, prioritization of different types of requirements, the Risk Breakdown Structure and Quality Assurance Matrix, qualitative risk analysis, quantitative risk analysis, the Risk Register and Quality Control Register.

The tutorial will involve lectures, open group discussion, and breakout room exercises based on a model case study.

  • Core concepts and methods of project managers, risk managers, and quality assurance managers
  • Intersections among ethnographers and specialists in risk analysis and quality assurance
  • Project management as a gateway for ethnographers into underserved areas of an organization
  • Step-by-step application of PRA/QA methodology to a case study project

For more information on ethnography and Project Risk Analysis and Quality Assurance, read Patricia Ensworth’s article “Retooling Our Skillset for Resilience.”

Instructor

Patricia Ensworth has applied the principles and skills of ethnography on software engineering, IT, and innovative technology projects ever since she earned a master’s degree in cultural anthropology from Columbia University in 1982. Her career has been grounded in the digital evolution of financial services and telecommunications. Beginning as a Help Desk phone representative and technical writer at Merrill Lynch, she became a software tester for international applications used by different user cultures around the world. She founded the Quality Assurance function in the Systems Development Group at Moody’s Investors Service and led the team through a decade of innovation. Subsequently as a manager and consultant at firms such as Citigroup, UBS, and Morgan Stanley she has led technology and information risk projects in the areas of strategic planning, supplier management, organizational development, regulatory compliance, and cybersecurity. She is the author of The Accidental Project Manager: Surviving the Transition from Techie to Manager (Wiley) and numerous book chapters, journal articles, and conference presentations. She leads seminars and workshops for professionals through the American Management Association and is an adjunct Assistant Professor at New York University.

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