Without a doubt, one of the areas that can most benefit the projects we commission is the effective management of risk and yet it comes up time and time again as being a problem area. The most common response is to repeat what is in the template project plan or to come up with some standard risks that seem to do the job. So, I’m not going to be surprised to see in my next project plan something along the lines of ‘staff may leave the project’. This really isn’t doing anyone any favours, least of all the project, and my standard advice is to think very simply and list out all the ‘bad things’ that could happen in the project, how likely they are to happen, what would be the impact if they did happen and what the project is then going to do to avoid them. Generally, about 10-15 minutes of thought on this leads to the risk section being completed far more effectively and hopefully to us avoiding some of those ‘bad things’.

I’m mentioning this because in this week’s Computing there is a whole section dedicated to risk, which starts with how to address it (see http://www.computing.co.uk/computing/analysis/2216492/damage-limitation-3990558) and there is a comment piece on one of the webinars they run that was on managing risk (see http://www.computing.co.uk/computing/analysis/2216502/managing-risk-people-process-3990563). Both are worth a look as they contain some good practice that can be used in any project, not just business projects.

1 thought on “Risk

  1. James Farnhill

    I hate to say this but I am ploughing through project plans for a new area at the moment and the favourite risk is ‘staff may leave project’. One particularly awful analysis includes ‘staff may get ill’. Predictably enough there are no mitigating actions for these. I really can’t stress enough how much projects let themselves down when they use these generic risks; they miss out on looking forward and ensuring that relevant risks to the project are addressed at an early stage and don’t turn into major issues.

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