Posted by: kerrywills | October 25, 2013

If you see something, say something

Recently there have been commercials on television stating “if you see something, say something.” These are from a public awareness campaign from Homeland Security and are meant to have people raise their awareness around them and report suspicious behavior. I think this approach is needed on projects as well for people to raise their awareness around potential risks and issues (e.g. threats to the project).


There are many things to be aware of and look out for…

  • Upcoming deliverables which are at risk of not starting on time
  • Risks with using new technologies, vendors or delivery approaches
  • Resource contention challenges
  • Delays in activities with dependencies
  • Quality of work not meeting expectations

Management needs to be aware of potential risks so that actions and mitigations can be taken and the only way to do this, is to identify and raise items to them. So tell your teams that “if they see something, they need to say something.”


  1. […] Kerry Wills wants his project teams to apply the security slogan, “If you see something, say something” to progress and risk monitoring. […]

  2. Who does this apply to, the team members? So, if the team member saw something, should he inform the stakeholders and circumvent the project manager?

    I think this saying should be treated very cautiously, otherwise it’ll create a culture where everyone is a snitch.

    • It does apply to team members and the intent is to notify the Project Manager so items can be tracked as risks, issues or decisions. So not to circumvent the PM at all, but to raise things to them to help manage. I dont think ‘snitching’ is bad so long as the culture views it with the right intention – to solve problems vs place blame and punishment

      • Hi Kerry,

        I don’t want to argue here, but don’t you think that what you’re saying is a bit “ideal”. Once you tell people to report anything immediately then you will immediately create an uneasy environment where pointing fingers is totally acceptable.

        I don’t have a better solution myself – but I think your solution will most likely make things worse – not better.

      • That is fair and maybe there is a ‘tolerance’ for which items get raised. My only point is that, unless items get brought to a PM’s attention, it is hard to help resolve them. The intent is transparency and a bias towards resolving problems.

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