Managing a risk is definitely more cost, time and resource effective than managing an issue but before we discuss how to manage risks, let’s make sure you know the difference between a risk and an issue – you do right?
Just as in the real world, in the project world we live with the knowledge that there are lots of risks with the potential to stop us achieving success. It is how we manage these risks in order to minimise the number of issues, that will determine whether our project is successful or not.
In 25 years of managing projects, I think Risk Management probably ranks as one of the top 2 or 3 disciplines a project manager needs to focus on if they want to deliver a successful outcome (the other ones are Scheduling and Stakeholder Management).
While there are always project-specific risks to consider, the approach to follow should be the same no matter what your project goals are:
- Start your risk management process as early as possible in the project, and continue to plan for risks as the project progresses (I recommend a formal risk review at each gate);
- As you identify each risk, make sure you define who will be responsible for tracking and reporting on the risk and make sure they take ownership;
- Prioritise each risk based on the likelihood that it will occur and the severity of the problem if it does occur;
- Communicate, Communicate, Communicate – make sure your senior stakeholders, your project team, and your vendors are aware of the risks and more importantly, are aware of their role in helping to mitigate any risks;
Putting in place an effective risk management process at the start of your project allows you to plan for any potential problems you may encounter along the way and to stop them before they become issues that need time, money and people to resolve.
Riteway Solutions Group specialise in project risk management so if you need help designing a risk management approach for your project, feel free to get in touch with us to see where we can assist.