Project Pitfalls: How to Avoid Problems in Assessing Risks

José Parladé is a PMP-certified project management and advertising professional. He has worked in both of these industries for numerous years and is adamant about the fact that project management processes are integral to the execution of a successful campaign.

Identifying and analyzing risks are important processes involved with any project. Failing to adequately account for risks—or to consider their impacts, should they occur—could mean the difference between a comprehensive risk register and one that steers a project toward failure. It is for this reason that the utmost attention and care should be given when thinking about risks.

However, this may be easy to keep in mind but less easy to carry out. The truth about human beings is that we are far worse at accounting for risks than we would like to believe. This is because our understanding of situations is greatly influenced by our own unique perspectives:

  • An optimistic project manager may fail to account for risks that could jeopardize his or her entire project.
  • A pessimist PM may be unrealistic in assessing and prioritizing risks based on their potential occurrence and impact.

Even a rather realistic project manager may fail in analyzing risks. For example, perhaps other project processes seem more salient and require more attention. Perhaps stakeholders are hesitant or wavering in their decisions regarding what should be required of a project. Perhaps the project cost may require an intensely keen eye.

Any number of things can vie for a project manager’s attention. And, to make matters worse, it seems that natural human psychology may work …

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"In youth we learn; in age we understand."

- Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

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