In Project Management, it’s a fact that if you don’t plan for your risks, your project is AT risk…
Handling risk & ambiguity is a vital part of any project. Whether it is understanding the impact of COVID-19 on your current project, the technical specifications of landing an innovation, or managing staff members remotely – risks need to be managed and monitored meticulously for success.
A risk is anything that could impact your project’s timeline, deliverables, or budget. Gary Cohen said, “If you don’t invest in risk management, it doesn’t matter what business you’re in, it’s a risky business.” Projects often run into trouble, especially when it comes to deadlines and cost-efficacy. The trick is to manage risks upfront, avoid time-delays, manage expectations, and fully understand the scope of a project. And before kick-starting any project, ask yourself, “What could go wrong?”
A logical Project Manager is aware that prevention is better than cure, issues will arise and it’s the Project Manager’s job to mitigate risk upfront by keeping a ‘risk register’, so it is easier to control in the long run. A Project Manager must identify, analyse, and respond to risks quickly and effectively to help keep project momentum and meet the end goal.
Risk Management may differ from project to project – it is dependent on size, scale, intricacy, and scope. Large projects may require comprehensive planning for each risk, whilst for smaller projects, a practical and simple outline of the risks, categorised by priority, may be sufficient. Remember, even a small project has numerous risks to consider- don’t ignore them just because the project is executed on a smaller scale. The rule of thumb remains; log them all and evaluate them as you go along. Irrespective of the project size, reporting all risks are a must to both your team and stakeholders.
Below is a checklist on how to handle risk on your next project:
Recognise and classify risks, keeping in mind technology, cost restrictions, resources, and unforeseen circumstances.
Some suggested tools to analyse risks include:
- Start a SWOT analysis. Identify Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats affecting the project
- Probability & Impact Matrix helps to document the likelihood & severity of each risk
- Throw ideas around and brainstorm with your team and related stakeholders to uncover the risks associated with the project
- Prioritise your risks by using a ‘risk register’ and determine the size of severity for each risk
- Prepare a Root Analysis to determine the primary reason behind each risk
Once your risks are logged, determine how likely they are to occur and then focus on the risks that have the biggest impact and greatest likelihood of happening.
Shared responsibility and accountability are vital to effectively managing a project. So, collaborate and assign risks according to who is best suited to manage that risk within the core project team.
React quickly and within reason when a crisis or issue occurs.
Schedule time weekly to identify new risks and to monitor the progress of risks being managed.
Elon Musk said, “It’s ok to have your eggs in one basket, as long as you control what happens to that basket.”
At Gantt Consulting, we know what it means to control the basket. We report and provide a status on all top 10 risks at each Project Status Meeting, and the top 5 risks for the Steering Team. Experience has taught us that this approach mitigates the shock if a risk truly becomes an issue, and the project team would already know about it and be prepared on how best to handle it. Again, in Project Management, it is a fact that if you don’t plan for your risks, your project is AT risk…