Project Management

Where Did Risk Go?!

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at [email protected] Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

I have a long and complicated history with risk. I wrote a book on strategic risk concepts, and believe me—going into a topic in that much depth can put you off it for a long time! But risk is always at the heart of the issues I am asked to work with clients to address. It’s an aspect of project management that I am asked about more frequently than most, and it’s something I am asked to write about and speak on a lot.

So, imagine my surprise when I looked at the new version of A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide). There’s no section on risk or risk management!

Instead, there’s a performance domain on uncertainty. I think that’s a really good thing. Risk isn’t the only uncertainty we have to deal with today—the PMBOK® Guide categorizes uncertainty, ambiguity, complexity, volatility and risk together in this performance domain.

Sure, you could produce statements around those that essentially turn them into risks to manage, but by separating them it helps to encourage all project stakeholders to think about uncertainty as a concept in more depth. That in turn is likely to result in better management and improved overall project performance.

Why “uncertainty”?
PMI’s description of what will happen if uncertainty is managed effectively includes an awareness of the …

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