Project Management

Risk & Reward

I'm a risk enthusiast who likes to discuss techniques, tools and models—and use risk as a practical means to make better decisions in project environments. Join me on the ride!

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Recent Posts

The Risk of Changing in Risk Management

(mis)Understanding Contingency

Monty Hall for Projects: To Switch or Not to Switch?

10 Wishes for your Project Risk Management adventures in 2019!

The Curse of the Moving Mountain

10 Wishes for your Project Risk Management adventures in 2019!

Hello, and happy new year, everybody! It’s time for new beginnings and, of course, wishes! I made a list for 2019, with what I wish for you this year, regarding project risk management:

  1. Communicate through risk: It is a great way to bridge gaps in communication and to expose points where people do not see eye to eye. To really understand a project in a glance, look at the project charter, the WBS and the risk register. It goes a long way and tell you a lot!
  2. Stablish a common ground: Adding on to the first item on the list, risk analysis can be used to bring people with different, sometimes even opposite views, although interested in the success of the project, to the same page. If you have something you want to discuss but you don’t know how to address, the risk register may help you.
  3. Question the deterministic: It is a nice idea to come back from the results of your analyses and change the plan. How feasible is it? It should be the P50, or the average, or some other value depending on your appetite for risk.
  4. Understand the challenges ahead: What are the roadblocks on your path? Are there any ladders or only snakes on the path? What is urgent? What is important? Use your register to respond, be proactive!
  5. Plan in advance: Don’t wait until the last minute to plan your responses. Do it as soon as possible, get people involved, make sure the risk drum beats strong so everybody can hear.
  6. Take action, make a move, get going: Do a workshop, make communication plans inside, get people interested on the results! The success of the project will keep everyone in the company employed for more time, or enhance their perceived skills by having participated in a successful project!
  7. Learning device: Incorporate risks in your project records. Make sure people will learn to plan better tomorrow based on what you are experiencing today!
  8. In plain sight: Exchange information, talk, have meetings, don’t be afraid to let the elephant inside the room. It is way better than hiding it until it is bigger than the room you are keeping him in.
  9. Risk and change, hand in hand: Change management can be directed by risks, as well as what the market point in your direction. Make sure you are monitoring progress and updating as frequently as possible, and make all these points connect.
  10. Expect the unexpected: No matter how good you are at mapping risks, something will stay out. You cannot be all that good and remember everything. But you can (you must!) keep track of issues and deviations along the way and make sure they happen only once for you. As they say, fool me once…

I hope you had an amazing year in 2018 and I look forward to having an even richer experience in 2019! I’ve learned a lot, and that is one of the great things of being alive and sharing this sense of community with all of you. Thank you all so much! Have a wonderful 2019!

Posted on: January 02, 2019 09:21 AM | Permalink | Comments (11)

A Template for Setting Up Your Qualitative Risk Analyses

Hey everybody!

just posting to let you know my first template upload is available on It is located here and it is a tool intended for us to conceive a risk register and structure a probability scale, an impact scale and an overall qualitative mapping.

Begin by stablishing your probability scale. Very straightforward, and you can have as low as 5 and as much as 7 levels of probability to be assigned.

Moving on to impact, I added some room for using different scales, so you can have a schedule dimension with four leves (say very low, low, medium and high) and a cost dimension with three (low, medium and high) and you can work these things together in the spreadsheet.

In a severity sheet, you can see the probability x impact severities resultiing from the several dimensions of impact you used on the impact scale. As I mentioned on my article on the risk ruler, I am using an additive way for obtaining the scores, i.e., I am multiplying the probability of the event by the various impacts on each dimension.

There is a sheet called register, with some columns to fill in the description and assess the probability and impacts, as well as planning for mitigation and its impact on the aforementioned components of the severity. There is also a possibility to plot the results in a graph.

I hope you guys like it, your feedback is most welcome.

And, again, thank you for reading and joining the discussion!

Posted on: October 01, 2018 01:03 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)

"Only those who have been in the frying pan are really qualified to talk about the heat."

- Winston Churchill