Latest "Risk Management Strategies and Tactics" Posts
For risk response planning a good project manager ensures that thorough, executable, and approved risk response plans are in place before the risk occurs.
- Thorough means there should be no unexpected ramifications of the risk response planning like unforeseen costs or impacts on other parts of the project.
- Executable means the budget, people and capability exists to implement the response plan when it is necessary.
- Approved means the project manager has ensured pre-approval of the response plan so that it can be implemented with a minimum of delay as required. It is agonizing to be a part of a project where a risk occurs, and you have a response plan that your leadership or steering committee then discusses for two weeks before acting. (Note, I did not assume that a steering committee was leadership and you should never make that assumption, as a steering committee may be made up of leaders, its actions are often the opposite of leadership).
The program manager’s risk environment is complex, because risks at the business level, program level, or project level can impact the program. That’s why categorization of risks facilitates better risk identification activities.
Additionally, the program manager must scrutinize which business- and program-level risks project manager’s should address. It would be too burdensome and unnecessary for project managers to try to address all the risks that exist at each of these levels. Just as the program manager filters and decides what project managers need to address, the project manager also has to filter and decide what project-level risks are shown or escalated to the business level. Realize that the business level would be overwhelmed if its managers saw or even knew about every project-level risk.
So what are the various risks in each category?
Risk Mitigation – Early execution is better, but we love later
I currently reside on the 7th floor of a condo overlooking a park in Florida. I have observed on many occasions people picnicking or barbequing in the park. Today at the park there was a family celebration with running kids, balloons and colored table cloths under a small pavilion. Unfortunately a line of severe thunderstorms was approaching.
Now all the signs of an upcoming storm were there, the imposing sky, the rush of the cool breeze, and distant lightening. Not to mention weather radar on mobile phones. Even the dogs the park goers brought were unsettled and began to howl. (Now I don’t speak dog but I suspect the howls meant “Oh brilliant master, let’s go”).
Prioritization: The Number Five Project Manager Success Factor
Number 5 on my top ten list of project manager success factors is to know how to prioritize and prioritize everything (This also means you are skilled at aggregation, disaggregation and re-aggregation).
One of my mantra’s is “key to being a successful project manager is knowing what to ignore.” To do this you must be able to prioritize. Not just prioritize, but do so in a way that establishes “buy in” of the resulting prioritization.
Everything should be in priority order!
Why is Risk Identification so Important in Project Management?
With all of the knowledge and experience we have with regard to risk as a project management community our performance is not good.
Sure there are some companies and organizations that excel at it but for the most part our risk management as part of managing projects has serious opportunity for improvement. You may think that is a bold statement but it is easy to make because I regularly survey project managers from Anchorage Alaska to Amsterdam.
The graphic below shows the results from a recent survey from the PMI Delaware Valley Chapter from a Risk Management Training course conducted at their Professional Development Day this year. Look at the data – 55% Poorly or Disastrous! 39% Adequate!