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Implement Risk Responses: Boston Style

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Implement Risk Responses: Boston Style

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Categories: climate change

Boston broke its all-time record temperature this week, reaching 100 degrees F.  I've covered climate change enough to know that this is weather, not climate.  Climate is over the long term.  So a one-time blip of 100 degrees is not necessarily climate change.  Trends, and continued breaking or near-breaking of the record, on the other hand is attributable to climate change.

You can learn about the difference easily by visiting this site.

Whatever you call it, being aware of and dealing with threats is probably one of the number one reasons you call yourself a project manager (or my preferred new title - project leader).  Projects, by definition, produce a unique outcome, product, or service.  By virtue of that uniqueness, whatever it is you are doing has never been done before.  So you will - I promise you - encounter events which positively or negatively affect the outcome.  That is the definition of risk.

Previously, I have blogged (three times, even) about the identification of a threat in Boston, the threat of a heat wave, especially in vulnerable areas of the city without shade, often in lower-income neighborhoods.

The City, under the leadership of Mayor Michelle Wu, has put in place a risk response plan, featured in my blog posts, which, now that the risk has become an issue (an issue is a risk which has become real). 

This is just a brief post to applaud the City for its following the best practices of the PMBOK(R) Guide, 6th Edition, which has as the processes for Risk, the following:

  • Plan Risk Management.
  • Identify Risks.
  • Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis.
  • Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis.
  • Plan Risk Responses.
  • Implement Risk Responses.
  • Monitor Risks.

The "Implement Risk Responses" bit is important.  You can plan all day, and all night, but if you don't have a way to implement the plan, you fail.  In this case, the plan was implemented, in the form of pools and tot sprays, and cooling centers, which have been activated based on this heat wave.

Photo courtesy of Boston Globe

Even the Boston Public Library is in the mix.  Library locations are also available for residents to seek relief from the heat, and to find enriching activities and events. The East Boston and Egleston Square branches recently installed misters in their outdoor free WiFi zones.  

To me, it just goes to show - great project leadership is about (amongst many other things) broadly and deeply identifying risks (both threats and opportunities), coming up with well-thought-out and fact-based responses, and being truly ready to implement those risk response plans.

One other thing: don't forget secondary risk.  That's new threats (or opportunities) triggered by the risk responses themselves.  In this case, an example of a secondary threat would be an injury on a poorly-designed splash pad, and a secondary opportunity would be increased Wi-Fi range as an effect of the misting.

In the meantime, if you are in any of the areas of the world (Boston is by no means alone here) affected by the high temperatures, stay cool, stay safe, and keep leading cool projects!




Posted by Richard Maltzman on: July 25, 2022 11:42 AM | Permalink

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