The Project Group, LLC
We specialize in assisting corporate and government
clients in learning to improve their productivity while planning and
Our three-phase approach yields faster,
more efficient project initiation, planning and execution results.
Each month our newsletter delves into a specific step
in the phases of Initiation, Planning and Execution of
projects. Our methodology is applicable to any project
in any industry. Our systematic approach to Project Management
is designed to help your company's projects gain traction
quickly, communicate clearly to all parties and keep them
on track to reach a successful conclusion.
We facilitate workshops that jump-start your teams, making
sure they know what they are going to do and validating
they have the time and resources with which to do it.
This newsletter focuses on Process 10:
The process of identifying risks.
Have a plan
that a project plan has been developed, it is time to create a
Risk Management Plan before executing the Project Plan. In our
July 2003 newsletter we discussed Risk, Impact and
Probability. In this article we discuss the importance of
taking time to create a Risk Management Plan.
benefits of creating a Risk Management Plan are:
Establishes a pre-agreed response should a known risk
Calms those queasy feelings you may have about the outcome
of the project by turning those negative premonitions into
The PMBOK suggests (as it does with
every content area) putting together a plan. Project Managers
know, if you have a plan, you can conquer the world. The Risk
Management Plan describes how you are going to manage risks
and who is going to be responsible for them. Don't get hung up
here on the process and overload yourselves. The important
thing is to do something about risk rather than imagining that
risk management takes too much time and is too difficult. A
plan can be put together quickly. However, it needs to be
periodically reviewed and updated as the Project gets into
If nothing else, identify the top 5 risks
and what you are going to do about them. Risks that have a
higher degree of probability and a higher degree of impact
make them the top ones.
A small number of identified risks (like three or five)
allows stakeholders to focus. As part of the risk management
process you will later prioritize risks and probably have many
more. Getting overwhelmed by identifying too many risks and a
complicated risk plan at the onset submarines the whole
process before you start.
What are the things that could
||In creating your Risk Management Plan, the first thing
the PMBOK says to do is to identify the risks. Where do you
begin? Rather than be overwhelmed, brainstorm by risk
categories. Categories may be something like:
Project Management |
Technical folks can probably
inundate you with all the risks that could befall your
project. Bear in mind a risk is an event that may
happen. If you live in an urban area and you consider that
traffic is a risk to your getting home quickly think again.
Traffic happens everyday. You can count on it with almost 100%
certainty at rush hour. Therefore, you can't consider
"traffic" as a risk.
When you brainstorm risks, don't be afraid to go wild.
Later on you can evaluate risks in terms of their probability
and impact. Then you'll consider which of them you will spend
more time with in prevention or mitigation plans. Remember
that many shy technical people may not perform well in public
brainstorming suggestions. Allow those quiet types to
contribute by e- mail. You may be pleasantly surprised at the
volume of their response. (Yes, even shy people have a lot of
opinions! They just don't express them.)
about business risks, remember that the stock market dropping
or your company getting bought out could be placed in the
category of general catastrophes which would have far greater
consequences than just your project. The better you
understand, clarify and communicate the specific business case
for your project, the fewer risks you potentially have in this
area. The axiom of business, however, is change. You should
know how would a change in the larger business strategy effect
Risk Identification Template|
||We find often that stakeholders are not specific enough
in their risk identification. We suggest the following
template for describing a risk. |
leads to [Risk Event] causing [Impact].
Here are some
Insufficient steel in the concrete leads to a sagging of
the floor causing four weeks rework
Lack of a spending plan leads to cash-flow problems in
month three causing a delay in the project
Too much over-time in the development phase leads to staff
exhaustion causing a slowdown in the latter phases of the
By deifining the cause and impact into a one
sentence description of the risk you are shortcutting the
thinking processes you will later need to identify prevention
and contingency plans.
Next Month's Newsletter|
||In the upcoming September 2003 newsletter we will
continue our articles about risk.
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