Risk on the Fly
Categories: Quality Management, Risk Management
This brief is going to read like course notes! I wrote about a lesson learned in ignoring proper risk appraisals & risk documentation in my previous blog.
I hardly hear nowadays — the words quality & risk used literally particularly when a project, stage or project phase duration is deemed short; unless quality & risk are explicitly specified in requirements. Work seems to be always in a rush, with little time to spare for thinking through what was planned the first time around. Working on projects feels a lot like routine operations. Couple with the fast pace in Agile, the notion that if it works one should just go with it again seems to be the new norm. Working like clockwork may help the team deliver any assigned project pronto, eliminate overall project risks, and minimize disruptions. But it presents a downside, among which include:
Whatever the circumstances may be to rush a project (or lagging project activities), give a thought for project risks. It is an essential management attribute of a quality project. A quick recap on dealing with project risks ~
Some structures. There has to be some form of structure when discussing risks. Consider a structured approach to administer project risks. For starters:
Give it some numbers. Create a risk score ႟. There are different means to evaluate risk. Choose a suitable approach /template e.g./wordings. Rate your risk attributes e.g.:
႟ = Risk Likelihood ✘ Risk Impact ✘ Risk Detectable
I would advocate framing risk & quality agendas when discussing project activities; especially when hard pressed for time to examine & investigate associated risks & quality concerns in separate meetings. For each prioritized risk:
"Documentation is not understanding, process is not discipline, formality is not skill." — Jim Highsmith, Adaptive Software Development
Ignore Risk at Your Own Peril
Categories: Project risks, Quality Management, Risk Management
Time and again I encounter problems on work quality that are easily mitigated. I learned from my colleagues recently they incurred losses due to sub-contracting work that were not thoroughly planned.
How did that happen?
Without the facts, the case may be attributed to the management of project quality & project risks which the project team may have neglected somewhat. A broad insight of that project:
Project quality measures the effectiveness & efficiency of planned activities against common/acceptable benchmarks, best practices & standards. Quality is monitored to report progressively on developments, managed to keep things right, & controlled to deliver what was agreed/contracted. These are necessary quality processes performed throughout a project lifecycle.
The project team/manager is expected to abide & see to that:
Their project suffered losses because the only quality process which they enforced (capable of) is to report on performance. That too in reporting superficially on ongoing task status & meeting task deadlines; in spite of established corporate quality policies of both contractor & customer. A prevalent practice which I observed, is that projects tend to focus on achieving stipulated terms, & to the letter at best. A common argument for this is that project management dynamics today are fluid. Quality hence is neither managed nor controlled — structurally.
Ignoring quality i.e. planning for quality & driving quality processes, in itself is a huge risk.
Plan for Risks
Risk must be identified, analysed, monitored & controlled with risk responses pre-authorized (where applicable) & confidently put in place. This should be a process with its own framework for risk ownership, accountability, and which is as-much-as-possible independent of the project development framework. Similar to that commonly practiced for corporate QA. The reason being risk matters should be evaluated separately from reviewing, planning & tasking project activities. More so when the project framework is Agile where activities are planned & tasks are assigned as like in a single breath, with little evidence of work, & seemingly always on schedule with hardly any impediment.
The least is to integrate risk & QA paperwork i.e. taking evidence that quality procedures & risk controls are effected. QA & risk management are key to ensuring the customer gets what was agreed and contracted. And the project team truly delivers what is expected.
Their lessons learned:
Risk planning is inevitable. There should be minimum protocols to follow for each & every project undertaken. There is after all a universal risk management standard.