Risk management expert Dan Patterson shares thoughts and best practices on the subject too many project teams continue to misunderstand or neglect at their own peril.
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Every project experiences problems, but there are telltale symptoms that identify a project in need of the prioritization and discipline of a systemic rescue. Project managers who understand the sources of these potential problems have a much better chance to control and moderate their influences throughout the project lifecycle.
Too many project managers negate the value of risk management by separating their risk tools and processes from the rest of the project. Here is a practical approach for building realistic risk plans and budgets, integrating them into your project plan, and reducing the probability that management will slash it.
Most states print a warning on lottery tickets: “Should not be used for investment purposes.” With weighted-average and PERT-based estimates artificially bounded by what we choose to be relevant, our projects should probably carry the same warning.
The first temptation many project managers must overcome is the tendency to start work before the goals are clear. A smidge of planning, a pinch of risk mitigation and a dash of clear roles and responsibilities can put you head and shoulders above most of your peers.
When it comes to risk management, hope is not a strategy ... all single point estimates are wrong ... and communication is everything. Understanding these principles and two others are the only way to turn risk management theory into meaningful practice.
As you begin to implement risk management approaches, record your actions and results for future reference.
Delays can't always be predicted. But once they happen, their impact on a project can be proactively analyzed, helping project managers reduce or overcome the negative effects. This is the domain of Keith Pickavance, senior vice president with Hill International, once of the largest U.S. construction management firms. Here, he shares his thoughts on delay analysis, other project management trends and the ideal project manager.
Keep “business-as-usual” risks out of your project risk register, and use it to record real threats and opportunities, along with what you plan to do about them.
Actually, it's not always "better to be safe than sorry." Value-driven risk management acknowledges that some risks are positive opportunities to be pursued, while others aren’t worth worrying too much about, given their unlikelihood of occurring.