My $300 Water Bill – Risk Management

Home The Savvy PM Blog My $300 Water Bill – Risk Management

bp 29
NO WAY!!!  We must have a water leak.  At 5:45 PM last Friday, my wife and I were at home, talking and opening the mail.  She was browsing through the typical invoices and junk, when she came upon the water bill… it was $300 for the prior month.  Yikes!  That’s about 10 times higher than normal.

We went into full crisis mode, searched the home for any signs or sounds of leaks, and found nothing inside the house.  I walked out to the water meter, and my shoes started squishing in the turf as I drew closer.  Ah-ha – we’ve got a leak at the meter.  We called the water company; they sent a crew out immediately; the crew replaced a faulty washer and the leak was fixed. 


1-Water-Bill PMP Nerd-Talk:

This week, I was talking through PMI’s framework in the PMBOK® Guide.  An input to Control Risks is Work Performance Data (or WPD).  In our projects, this WPD is useful for risk management – this data helps us determine if a risk event has occurred.  My water bill included WPD – we used a staggering 29,000 gallons of water in 1 month! 

Variance and Trend Analysis is a tool of the Control Risks process.  My water bill has a nice display of the prior 11 months of consumption.  That bar chart made my eyes pop when I saw a normal trend line with a huge jump in the current month – 10 times the normal consumption.  In my case, the report was just what I needed.  Sound the alarms – something is broken – “Houston, we have a problem.”

My story has a happy ending. Yesterday, we heard back from the water company.  They will adjust our $300 bill down to a normal level.  (That’s good news for our kids…we considered selling the X-Box on Craig’s List to cover the bill…)