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You will not be able to ask questions if you do not make your work before that. The work means to perform elicitacitation. You have to take knowledge about the domain, about the business which is running in that domain, about the pains stakehodlers in that domain/business are facing. Tools? PESTLE, Porter Five Forces, Solution Selling just to name something.
You can add a SWOT tool.
With This you explore many risks in your enterprise and your project with some answers.
It is a good idea to have some sense of the scope of the project using tools such as a WBS or story map as that can focus identification on what needs to be delivered.
One good question to ask stakeholders is "How would you cause this project to fail?" as that might help to elicit some higher severity negative risks. Similarly, you might ask "How might we get a much better outcome with this project than we'd expected?" to surface some positive risks.
Thanks all of you for great replies.
A project specific SWOT analysis is also useful as you suggest but keep in mind that the corporate and project specific SWOT analysis need to be kept separate.
One of the most useful tools for risk management is lessons learned. This applies to internal as well as external lessons - previous projects, personal experience and networks, mentors, independent consultants, industry practice, stakeholder knowledge... Your project need not start from scratch.
When dealing with risks, and risk management, I always spend a little time to learn and understand what the tolerance for risk is in the organization. Having a better understanding whether the organization is "risk averse" vs "risk tolerant" can help narrow the questions being asked. I often times ask "What do you believe are the key risk areas with this project"? I.e Reputation, Safety, Quality, financial etc....
My follow-up question is usually "What do you believe the impact level is" I.e Negligible, Moderate, Significant, or Major to those areas if the risk occurred?
Thanks everyone for your inputs.
From a session at my local PMI conference a few years ago:
- What is it about the project that keeps you up at night?
Mark made a good point about understanding risk tolerance. It's been my experience that few people want to spend a lot of time discussing risks early in a project or when things are going well. If you spend a lot of time asking different questions to identify risks, there is a risk you might lose your audience. Spend time on the critical few questions, and then make sure they are addressed appropriately (probability,impact [qualitative and quantitative], priority, response, owner...)..
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