My Project Management Expert

Managing Project Risk - Checklist

The Top 4 points you must bear in mind when managing project risk are:

1.0 Robust Risk Management Approach

The key here is to regularly review the risks already raised, whilst being on the look-out for new one's which may crop up during the project delivery. Again this depends on how risky the project is considered. So for example a business critical project which is implementing new untried technology, with a tight launch date would require not only intensive project control but also risk management. However a project which for example was implementing a BAU (Business as Usual) software release which should be a tried and tested process would be considered extremely low risk. Hence the emphasis on risk management should be much less.

The key here is to ensure only risks which are relevant to the project itself are raised not one's pertaining to the entire universe. You would be amazed at the risks some resources want to raise. Keeping them relevant is absolutely vital and will give you a clear picture of the real risk your project faces.

2.0 Effective Assessment of Risk

Yes you can run around and get updates on numerous risks to keep your Risk Log up to date, but if you forget the big picture and don't concentrate on mitigating the really important risks which actually could scupper your project. What you need to do is arrow in on those risks which really could occur to stall your project and do something about them. Now this could consist of anything from generating a contingency plan to those risks which can be mitigated, to those which can't. These in particular need to be communicated upwards as fast as possible so that Project Sponsors are aware of the risk and can plan accordingly.

So for example I managed a project where there was a huge unquantifiable risk that takeup of new 3g mobile handsets would not be as popular as we required them to be. The project was basically delivering a new product which would work only on 3g handsets.

Now this risk couldn't be mitigated against because it was something whch was out of the project and Organisation's control. However by communicating this risk upwards, the Organisation was able to fine tune it's publicity and PR campaign to ensure that even if the risk happened, this could still be portrayed as a success to the wider world. This was just as well because the risk materialised, and yet the launch of the new product generated a great deal of good press.

3.0 Use a Phased Project Lifecycle

When you are creating a project plan it can pay dividends to use a phased project lifecycle approach. Of course it depends on the type of project you are delivering, but if it is one which is perceived as being particularly risky (and I'm thinking New Media projects here as an example) then this approach can make sense because it allows you to quickly assess project risk by phase which makes them much easier to mitigate.

4.0 Properly Plan How to Manage the Critical Risks

This will be detailed in more depth elsewhere. However the key points are:

  • Keep monitoring these risks
  • Try to mitigate against the risks occurring
  • Try to reduce the likelihood of the risk happening
  • Create contingency plans where possible.

Managing Project Risk Checklist - Tip

Follow these four points on this Checklist and you will find that you will control the project risks, rather than becoming a slave to them.

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