Project Smart ~ Exploring trends and developments in project management today

Calendar icon
Adobe PDF icon

Managing the Risk Factor - Part 2

~ By Brad Egeland

Word risk made of coloured letter blocks

In Part 1 of this two-part series on managing risk factors, we began by looking at a high-level view of the risk management process by discussing risk avoidance and risk mitigation. Let's now turn our attention to some outside factors that can introduce risks to our project engagements and how we might work to handle those.

Customer Risks

The customer is a part of the solution, but they can also be a part of the problem. Influences and issues on the customer side can throw a wrench into project progress. Risks, such as losing key customer personnel, funding issues, and slow decision-making, can cause you major project delays if not managed properly. Make sure the customer is aware of the potential risks they can cause and that they are working continuously throughout the project to help make sure that those issues do not arise and negatively affect the project.

Outside Vendor Risks

Any time you rely on outside vendors - no matter what the project is and who those vendors are - you are automatically introducing risk. There is just no avoiding risk factors there. Why? Because you can never directly control those vendors. What you can do is make them very aware of risk concerns, include them in a risk planning process, and make them go through the proper paces to identify how they'll deal with potential risks. In fact, it's a very good idea to come up with backup vendors should major problems arise.

Internal Management Risks

This may be a hard one to swallow, but we have to look at our own management infrastructure and consider the possible risks. At any given time, management can deem other competing projects to be of higher value to the organisation. This can mean the loss of key resources that other higher-priority projects might need. This can mean a funding shift leaving your project in a difficult or impossible situation of trying to deliver on a project that is basically limping along. This can also mean a work stoppage or lack of access to non-personnel resources that you were planning on getting. All of these can seriously injure your project and affect your position with your project's customer, whom you are trying to keep engaged and satisfied. This list can go on and on, and most project managers have experienced some issue on one of their projects from an internal management decision that they weren't expecting sometime during their PM career.

Summary

The bottom line is this - we can't capture and plan for all risks all of the time. It just isn't possible no matter how much time we spend planning for these annoying and damaging potential issues. However, by using best practices and making sure that the proper time and effort is put into risk definition, analysis, and management early on in the project, then we can at least be confident going forward with the knowledge that we, our project team, and our customer are somewhat prepared to avoid or mitigate risks. Additionally, we can be confident that by spending time on the risk planning process we will be better prepared to handle even those issues that arise that we never planned for, just by incorporating those best practices into our overall project management process.


Advertisement


Comments

Be the first to comment on this article.

Add a comment



(never displayed)



 
2000
Out of 56, 14 or 27, which is the smallest?
Notify me of new comments via email.
Remember my form inputs on this computer.

My Story: Working Smarter; Not Harder

Woman thinking with a light bulb drawn on a blackboard

When you realise that you have the power to change your beliefs and remove a limiting factor that has been constraining you, you have an AHA! moment.

Taming MS Project

Gantt chart and plan

Microsoft Project can become a huge overhead, even for seasoned project managers. This article contains some tips and tricks that will help you tame the tool.

Belbin and Successful Project Teams

Business team brainstorming using coloured labels on an office table

Creating successful project teams is a daunting task for project leaders. A good method for matching people to roles is the Belbin Team Inventory Method (BTIM).

The Simplified Project Management Process

Flat design of project management with icons

A five-minute step by step explanation of what project management involves for people who are unfamiliar with the approach.

PROJECT SMART is the project management resource that helps managers at all levels improve their performance. We provide an important knowledge base for those involved in managing projects of all kinds. With weekly exclusive updates, we keep you in touch with the latest project management thinking.

WE ARE CONNECTED ~ Follow us on social media to get regular updates and opinion on what's happening in the world of project management.


Latest Comments

Arthur commented on…
Make Me a Project Manager in 2018
- Tue 16 January 12:24pm

Suzanne commented on…
The Role of the Project Manager
- Thu 11 January 9:29pm

David commented on…
Project Plans: 10 Essential Elements
- Mon 11 December 10:51pm

Latest tweets

General Project Management • Benefits Help https://t.co/WFZfGrXigf #projectsmart #pmot about 9 days ago

General Project Management • Re: Which project management software? https://t.co/kWXTIQMin4 #projectsmart #pmot about 12 days ago

General Project Management • Re: Project management software for personal use? https://t.co/LaLlQ8n9b8 #projectsmart #pmot about 12 days ago