A lot of organizations get into risk management a bit naively thinking that having a framework with some processes is enough and that it will be simple to ensure that we keep ahead of future risks. It does take just a touch more to make a solid foundation on which to run risk management. What does one do to ensure success with risk management on their projects?
Most people are overly preoccupied with having the right forms, logs or register and don’t pay enough attention to other fundamental aspects of risk management. In working on quite a few projects over the years, I have gathered my experiences within the following five principles that are basic to keeping on track and on top of your risk management efforts.
Principle 1: Do start with a plan in mind
It does not take a 100-page document, just a few pages to let everyone know how you will be tailoring the organization’s risk management framework to fit the specific needs of the project at hand. Not all of the projects are the same and one framework although it might apply to all might still need some tweaks to make it a perfect fit. Having a good risk management plan template that can be easily scaled to most projects with a day or less or work is a must.
Once completed, this plan will guide the entire process while providing stakeholders with valuable insight into the risk process.
Principle 2: Make time for risk identification as it is a MUST
Do take time to slow down long enough to gather risk information which will become the foundation for all other work to follow. It is amazing what comes out of a good risk identification process.
Risk identification is for me an essential part of the entire process and not taking time to do it correctly can only spell trouble later on. Think of it this way, a few more hours of identification will more than likely cut your need for last-minute workarounds by more than half, leaving less to chance and luck. So, would you not rather be prepared than leave it till the stars suddenly align? Do take this time to put down a solid starting point.
Principle 3: Once you have it mapped, follow it
We spend time in creating the best-looking risk register yet once the steam is full ahead on the project we don’t rely on or keep it up. Why have you done all this work only to look like a headless chicken at the first sign of a risk? You have documented it, it will happen.
Sylvie Edwards, PMP, MCPM, STDC, CMP has 25 years of project management experience spanning various industries and is the owner of SRE Solutions, catering to clients in need of project management course development, education, project risk management, PMO setup/evaluation or recovery services. She has worked with one of the top five consulting firm, where she led projects in the information technology, banking, government, and securities sectors as well as being a manager in the risk management practice. Sylvie writes about risk management, communication, and PMO.