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Writing a Project Initiation Document - Initial Risks and Issues Log 12/13

01.Document Change History, Related Documents and Purpose
02.Project Scope Statement
03.Project Background
04.Project Definition
05.Assumptions, Dependencies and Constraints
06.Business Case
07.Organisation and Governance
08.Communications Plan
09.Quality Plan
10.Initial Project Plan
11.Project Controls
12.Initial Risks and Issues Log
13.Initial RFC's, Open Questions, Training & Appendix
14.Getting A PID Approved

12.0 Project Initial Risks and Issues Log

This Section relates to the Risks for the project. Remember that at this stage your project hasn't been initiated yet, therefore you shouldn't have a Project Risk Log. Therefore if you start raising loads of Risks at this stage you run the risk of emphasising the riskiness of your project. The upshot of this could well be to get your project canned.

The reason being that when money is tight, as it certainly is at the moment, Organisations are under much more pressure to get "more bang for their bucks". And no that wasn't Project Management terminology in case you were wondering! The result of that is that Organisations want to concentrate either on projects which will deliver significant additional revenue, or those which have an extremely good chance of delivering on time, quality and budget. Preferably both.

So obviously if you start raising a large number of Project Risks before the project even starts it is of course going to raise a red flag to the Business Sponsor and Organisation that this is a project with a good chance of failure. These are the projects which have a high probability of being stopped, often indefinitely.

Often this Section will consist of the following:

  • 12.1 Initial Risks Log
  • 12.2 Initial Issues Log
  • 12.3 Contingency Plans

12.1 Initial Risks Log

As mentioned aboved keep this brief and try not to detail more than 4 Risks. Often these can be general and could consist of the following:

  • There is a Risk that the resources required will not be available due to the need to provide ongoing support in the Production Environment.
  • Estimates given by the various workstreams could be much greater, depending on the BRS and Requirements which will be documented once the project is initiated.

12.2 Initial Issues Log

This follows the lines of The Initial Risk Log. However you shouldn't have any Issues before the Project initiates. If you do then something has gone horribly wrong somewhere!

Therefore all that I usually write in this section is: "An Issue Log will be maintained".

12.3 Contingency Plans

I often think this Section is there purely to give ITQA work to do, as it relates to Project Risk Workshops and the ensuing creation of contingency plans which mitigate the impact of these risks being realised. I usually try to skim over this Section by putting in something along the lines of the following which is basically an example of what would be included in the Contingency Plan:

Weekly resource allocation meetings will be held with each Workstream Manager to ensure that the correct resources are allocated to project activities and that early warning of resource over allocation is brought to the attention of the project manager. A holiday/training/sickness register is kept to ensure project activities are not delayed.

Initial Risks and Issues Log Tip

Keep all Sections very high level. The more detail you include the harder you will make it for yourself later on in the project.

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