Kick off "Early Warning Signals" #01


11 Jun 2005

On Saturday June 11th, 2005 CROSSTALKS together with Project Management Belgium organised a kick off seminar on the theme "Early Warning Signals". According to the CROSSTALKS concept, the theme was approached from different disciplines and perspectives.


10.00- 10.20 INTRODUCTION
Ignace Glorieux – (VUB) sociology – scientific co-ordinator
Chris Kindermans – Project Management Belgium - moderator

10.20- 10.45 PROJECT TEAM
Evert Zinzen (VUB) – Monitoring the general health at the workplace for the well-being of staff and projects

Geoff Reiss (Hydra) – The difference between a panic and a problem is the amount of time you have to resolve it

Mario Vanhoucke (Ugent), Stephan Vandevoorde (Fabricom Airport Systems) - Earned value metrics and recent developments to forecast total project duration

Gilbert Eggermont (SCK CEN) – Late lessons from early warnings – precautionary approach in future technology projects

12.00- 12.45 Panel discussion


14.00- 14.10 INTRO

14.10- 14.35 RISK ASSESSMENT
Ronny Blust (UA) – Predicting Risk in an Environmental Context

Krys Markowski/Ian Stokes (ESIEE - Paris) – Game Theory and Problem Solving

Jean Paul Van Bendegem (VUB) – How to detect a butterfly causing a tornado?

15.30- 16.00 Panel discussion


Bios / Slides

Prof. Ignace Glorieux (VUB) sociology – scientific co-ordinator

[BIO] Ignace Glorieux is a sociology professor at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Free University of Brussels). He is a member of the research group Tempus Omnia Revelat (TOR) and teaches courses on Sociological Theory, Social Inequality, Sociology of Time Use and Temporal Order, Cultural Politics and Methodology. He is involved in different research project on time use, temporal organization, temporal policies and mobility in Flanders and Belgium, in a longitudinal study on the transition from school to work and in different research projects on cultural practices and cultural participation. He is the president of the Vlaamse Vereniging voor Sociologie (Flemish Sociological Association), member of the board of the International Association for Time Use Research (IATUR), a member of the Taskforce ‘Time Use Survey’ at EUROSTAT and of the European Research Network on Transitions in Youth.

Chris Kindermans (Project Management Belgium) - moderator

[BIO] A PMI (Project Management Institute) Certified and Prince 2 trained Project Manager, who holds a Master Degree in Applied Economic Sciences, has held in his career operations-, resources and general management, crisis management project management, program audit, marketing and sales positions, in line and in staff. He has more than 20 years of experience of working in international environments and in managing multi-cultural teams. He has been leading, mentoring and coaching business development, project management, turn-around and ICT services operations teams all over Western and Eastern Europe and partly in the US and the Far East encompassing the set-up of export activities and new services businesses and the making of alliances and partnerships. He has worked for the Services of the Belgian Prime Minister, for the Belgian Banking Association) for Matra Informatique, for Datapaint, for Logica, for Groupe Bull and for Integris, and for several Small and Medium Size enterprises.

Prof. Evert Zinzen (VUB) - The development of an alarm bell tool for monitoring the general health at the workplace

[ABSTRACT] Out of research in the field of low back problems (LBP) it was concluded that the aetiology of LBP is determined by a wide range of variables, similar to most general health problems (obesitas, cardiovascular problems, ...). To determine these influencing variables, a range of instruments was developed, consisting mostly of questionnaires. To gain accuracy these instruments were, during their development, systematically elaborated. Monitoring general health (LBP in particular) at the workplace provides information for preventive actions. General health (physical/psychological aspects) affects directly the outcome of the job project and the wellbeing of the workers. The instruments used were aimed and adapted for nursing staff but are in the mean time applied in the South African steel industry also. With regard to the application of the instruments for non-scientific but practical purposes, it was decided to develop a very short and practical tool (questionnaire) aiming at a fast and accurate determination of possible threatening variables for the general health at the workplace. It consists of psycho-social, work-circumstances and general health factors. It can be used as a quick monitoring tool (in time) or as a quick detection tool followed by more in depth research with the standard instruments . The new instrument ( CBSI : Concise Back Screening Instrument) is developed at present and can be considered as an alarm bell tool , but it still needs validation.
Acknowledgement: Bernard Van Vuuren (University of Pretoria), J.P. Clarijs, W. Duquet, R. Meeusen and P. Van Roy (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)

[BIO] Evert Zinzen obtained a Master in Physical Education and Motoric Revalidation and Physiotherapy. His Phd in Motoric Revalidation and Physiotherapy discussed epidemiologic variables that affect LBP with nurses. Present research: Human Movement Sciences and Prevention of Health Risks.

Geoff Reiss (Hydra) - The difference between a panic and a problem is the amount of time you have to resolve it

[ABSTRACT] Many of the problems that arise in programs and projects are connected with a shortage of resources. Many organisations commit to too many projects and only later discover that they do not have sufficient resources to progress the work in a timely manner. There is a range of resource planning techniques and tools that attempt to predict the demand for resources so that shortfalls may be predicted and therefore managed. Unfortunately most project management tools are not designed for an environment where early warning is as vital as it is today. In heavy engineering projects resources are quickly available, in technology projects it may take 6 months to expand a team. This presentation explains the environment and compares the consolidation method with the delegation method for managing resources across programmes of projects focusing on task-centric planning with resource-centric planning, both techniques for predicting resource shortfalls in good time.

[BIO] Geoff Reiss has concentrated, throughout his 35 year career, on project and programme management. After 12 years as a project planner for Bovis in UK, the Middle and Far East, he was co-author of the Apple Project Manager, Pertmaster and Pertmaster Advance project management software systems. He was a founder and Features Editor of Project Manager Today magazine where he often wrote the ‘Project of the Month’. He is the author of Project Management Demystified and Programme Management Demystified. (two of Britain’s best selling books in their topics). His third book, One Project Too Many, is due to be published Autumn 2003 and his fourth, The Gower Handbook of Programme Management, is due Autumn 2004. He has a master’s degree in project management and sat on the first and second review panels for the government’s publication on this topic: Managing Successful Programmes. He is a Fellow of the Association for Project Management and Chairman of ProgM, the Association for Project Management/British Computer Society Specific Interest Group in Programme Management.

Prof. Mario Vanhoucke (UGent) / Stephan Vandevoorde (Fabricom) - Earned value metrics and recent developments to forecast total project duration

[ABSTRACT] It is well-known that well managed and controlled projects are more likely to be delivered on time and within budget. The construction of a (resource-feasible) baseline schedule and the follow-up during execution are primary contributors to the success or failure of a project. Earned value management system have been set up to deal with the complex task of controlling and adjusting the baseline project during execution. Although earned value systems have been proven to provide reliable estimates for the follow-up of cost performance, it often fails to predict to total duration of the project. In this presentation, we extensively review the existing methods to forecast the total project duration. Moreover, we investigate the potential of a newly developed method, the earned schedule method, as an early-warning signal, which makes the connection between earned value metrics and the project schedule.

[BIO] Prof Dr Mario Vanhoucke obtained his degree in Commercial Engineering and his PhD at the KU Leuven. As of September 2001 he is assistant professor Operations and Technology Management Center. He is also professor at the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration of Ghent University. His main research interest is in operations research, optimization, simulation, decision analysis and project scheduling. Stephan Vandevoorde is currently senior project manager at Fabricom Airport Systems, a division of Fabricom-Gti . He has been working on a number of large-scale international projects across many industries including construction, retail, automotive industry, airport bagage handling systems. He has an industrial engineer diploma and is member of the PMI College of Performance Management. Stephan has extensive experience in "project recovery", where the use of EVM techniques to assist in evaluating and predicting project performance have been proven invaluable. On several occasions, he has given presentations on several project management topics for VIK, Vlerick, Boston University Brussels. In collaboration with IFBD, Stephan is docent for the courses "Earned Value Management" and "Project Management for the Construction Industry".

Prof. Gilbert Eggermont (SCK CEN) - Precautionary approach in future technology projects

[ABSTRACT] The theme has to be situated in the EC formulation of “Precaution". The talk will present an overview of the study of the European Environment Agency of Kopenhagen: "Late lessons from early warnings" about divers environmental compartments who took late risks with uncertainties into consideration (amongst others asbest, radiation...) With recommandations voor precautionary approaches in new and future technology projects and a specific analysis of the history of the nuclear controverse with regard to future energy legislation.

[BIO] Gilbert Eggermont obtained a Phd in Nuclear Physics in 1974 at University Gent. He has 35y research experience in radiation protection, dosimetry, nuclear safety, environment, nuclear waste management, science and technology assessment and integration of social science and technology. Contribution to more than 100 scientific papers and engaged in post graduate training in reactor safety, radiation protection, waste, prevention and management.
At present he is adviser to the board and programme manager PISA in SCK•CEN and
visiting professor at University of Brussels (VUB) (safety, radiation protection). Eggermont is member of the board of the Institut des Radioéléments (IRE, Fleurus) and member of the Belgian Nuclear Regulatory Advisory Commission (Speciale Commissie). He is a certified expert class II radiation protection, member of the Belgian Health Council and president of section 5 Radiations and member of the Brussels-EU Chapter of the Club of Rome, IRPA and ENC.

Prof. Ronny Blust (UA) - Predicting Risk in an Environmental Context

[ABSTRACT] Human activities exercise a multitude of impacts on the environment. The protection of the aquatic and terrestrial environment requires the setting of scientifically sound quality criteria which are protective and realistic. This requires a thorough understanding of the processes underlying exposure and effects, taking into account the difference in structural and functional organisation and consequent differences in the sensitivity of [BIO]logical systems. Within this framework probabilistic approaches have gained increasing interest and are more and more used to determine the impact of human activities and environmental pollution on the health status of aquatic and terrestrial systems and the setting of quality criteria which is of key importance in environmental risk assessment.

[BIO] Ronny Blust is professor of Environmental Physiology and Toxicology at the University of Antwerp. The research and teaching activities of his group are focussed on the adaptation of aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates and vertebrates to their environment and the impact of human activities on the health status of these organisms, populations and ecosystems. This fundamental research is also applied to better understand the impact of man on the environment and develop scientifically sound monitoring and assessment tools.

Prof. Krys Markowski/Ian Stokes (ESIEE, Paris) - Game Theory and Problem Solvin

[ABSTRACT] A difficulty of communication can lead to games theory situations (such as the prisoner's dilemma, where interests are not being satisfied, even when it would be in everyone's best interests.) Progress is backward, before you can go forward, like in a negotiation. It gets worse before it gets better. Negotiation calls upon the skills of research, preparation, empathy, understanding, argument, conflict handling, problem solving, coaching, communicating, and so on. Organisational debates, just like public debates, are indicators of changes to come.

[BIO] Ian Stokes is a certified project management practitioner, facilitator, and trainer with a degree in Business Studies from HON, England. He delivers process and learning solutions in software, media, electronics, consumer products, transport, and areas where creativity and speed-to-market are essential. His recent clients include Pasteur Mérieux, Pfizer, GSK, Nestlé, Disney, Infogrames, Thomson Multimedia, Philips, Cisco, Bombardier, EasyJet, Alcatel, and others.
He has organized corporate events for Crédit Lyonnais, Essilor, Maulde & Renou, Sonotrac, Alstom and Faurecia. His organization approach is based on case studies and active participation, and is designed to focus management decisions on specific problems.
He currently delivers courses in International Project Management for Aerospace MBA, and Agile Project Management at ESIEE(Schools of Engineering and Technology) in Paris, and ESC(European Software Center).

[BIO] Markowski est Professeur et Directeur du Programme de Master Specialisé en Innovation Technologique et Management de Projet (M.S. ITMP) qu'il a crée en 1992, au Groupe ESIEE (Ecole Supérieure d'Ingenieurs en Electronique et en Electrotechnique), affiliée a la Chambre de Commerce de Paris.

Prof. Jean Paul Van Bendegem (VUB) - How to detect a butterfly causing a tornado?

[ABSTRACT] Can we apply chaos theory, statistical technology or strategies from artificial intelligence to recognize early warning signs and symptoms that threaten the health of a project? There seems to be nothing wrong with applying mathematical-physical-chemical-biological models in the social sciences. If this statement were true, there would be no Science Wars. Since there are, the statement is false (that is, if logic is right). The key notion is apparently "application": what does it mean to apply something, whatever it is, from the "hard" sciences to the "soft" sciences? We have to see applicability as the development and use of metaphors, analogies, and other more informal devices. But can these metaphors contribute to the successful steering of a project? Will they offer a solution to data disorder and information-transfer? Or will the control never be total?

[BIO] Professor Jean Paul Van Bendegem is chairman of the Centre for Logic and Philosophy of Science at Vrije Universiteit Brussel and a internationally renowned mathematician and philosopher. Van Bendegem teaches and conducts research at Vrije Universiteit Brussel and UGent. His research focuses on the Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic. He is president of the National Centre for Logical Investigation and editor of Logique et Analyse.


On Saturday June 11th, 2005 CROSSTALKS together with Project Management Belgium organised a kick off seminar on the theme Early Warning Signals. According to the CROSSTALKS concept, the theme was approached from different disciplines and perspectives. From the wellbeing in the workplace (Evert Zinzen) and earned value metrics and recent developments to forecast total project duration (Mario Vanhoucke and Stephan Vandevoorde) to the systematically ignored “early warnings” throughout the history of technology projects (Gilbert Eggermont).
The afternoon began with predicting risk in an environmental context (Ronny Blust), followed by a practical initiation in game theory and problem solving thinking (Ian Stokes). The playful mood was set and we only needed professor Jean-Paul Van Bendegem to delve into the not so predictable world of complex systems and chaos theory.
There is a wasteland of EWS lying open for scientific research and policy making. And one of the conclusions of the closing discussion was that people will continue to ignore EWS for whatever reason, seen the complexity of problems, of our lives, of society at large and projects in particular.
Professor Ignace Glorieux was the scientific coordinator of the seminar whilst Chris Kindermans from PMB moderated the discussions.

This broad range of speakers from different Belgian universities and the corporate world adressed an even more interdisciplinary mix of participants in the Promotiezaal at the Etterbeek Campus. The seminar was attended by people from the corporate world (Alcatel, Bekaert, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Mutoh Europe, Ackinas, Namahn, Citibank, Escrow, Oracle and others) and from our university (from vice-rector Education Rosette S’Jegers and Head Technology Transfer Interface Sonja Haesen to people from the Leo Apostel Center and VUB PhD students from Applied Physics to Radiology and Ultrastructure).

All participants agreed upon the inspiring interventions of the speakers and the clarifying discussion sessions. Most left the Promotiezaal smiling and adding that they were but too happy to have spend a Saturday at the VUB Campus and not behind the grassmower…


This event was co-organised with Project Management Belgium and supported by:

The Brussels Capital Region, Escrow Europe, Citibank, Vlaams Innovatienetwerk en Inside Internet Business