Risk Management Starts Sooner Than You Think

PMI South Florida Chapter

William lives and works as an IT project manager in South Florida, and is a member of the South Florida chapter of PMI. He created StatisticalPERT.com.

Project risk isn’t found just in a project’s risk register; project risk is found in every project uncertainty.

Among the many project uncertainties they face, project managers are uncertain about: the duration of activities; the costs of those activities; other project costs, like software licensing, consulting services or materials cost; how much scope will be delivered at the next milestone (true especially for agile projects). Each of these project uncertainties is inherently risky with more than one possible outcome. Moreover, there is risk involved with how well the whole project will meet the customer’s needs, or how well the project sponsor will like the project’s final deliverable.

We can’t simply equate risk management to the project’s risk register. The risk register is just a small, managed subset of risks that a project manager has chosen to specifically track and analyze. In truth, risk management starts the moment we make any estimate about a project’s future state. Risk management starts when we add the very first task to a project schedule and assign it a work effort or duration estimate. We engage in risk management whenever we calculate an estimated cost for any activity on the schedule. We do risk management with every project estimate we make.

Consider schedule risk for a moment. What is your (and your …

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"Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils."

- Berlioz

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