In last week’s article, we started to look at the reasons why projects fail. We set out the first five of ten Points of Project Failure.
In this week’s article, we’ll look at the second set of causes. Five more reasons why projects fail.
Risk response strategies are the basic ways you can handle project risks. They are also also one of the areas of project management practice that the PMI updated in the 6th Edition of its Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBoKⓇ).
So, it seems like a good time to look at this vital aspect of project management in some detail.
In this article we’ll examine the risk response strategies you have available to you, what they mean, and when you should use them.
A robust risk culture goes beyond having a strong basic risk management process. But the rewards for the extra work you’ll put in to build that culture are huge. Particularly for large, complex, or strategically important projects.
Some of my readers may hope to influence the risk culture of their whole organization. But, for many, I suspect this may be too great an ambition. For you, the right aspiration is to build a positive risk culture within your project. As a Project Manager, that’s entirely within your scope.
But these ideas scale. And the process for creating a robust risk management culture within your project can apply equally if you get a chance to influence your wider organization.
Risk analysis is both easy and hard at the same time. If that sounds confusing, read on, because we’ll make everything clear. But one thing is for sure. No project manager can get by without knowing how to analyze risk on your project.
Risk is important, because it is baked into the nature of projects. They are time pressured, and need to deliver something new or even unfamiliar. And, to make matters worse, you have the twin problems of limited resources on the one hand, and competing stakeholder expectations, wishes, and demands on the other.
Is it any wonder that one of the most quoted aphorisms in project manager is this, from Tim Lister:
Risk Management is Project Management for Grown-Ups’
At some point in your project management career, you’ll need to deal with a project crisis. It may come in one of many forms, and arise for any of a huge range of reasons. It may not be the fault of you and your project team. But, equally, it may be.
So, you need to prepare for a project crisis. And your two priorities are to:
Two of the things that put off many project managers are Politics and Stakeholders. Yet they are intertwined and a necessary part of project management. You cannot escape either so you may as well embrace them.
In this podcast, Andy Kaufman of the People and Projects Podcast, interviewed me about Politics and Stakeholders – an interest we share.
This interview ranged wider than politics and stakeholders, but for me, that is at its heart. Andy’s case study questions tapped into real ad tricky situations.
Risk is inherent in the nature of a project. So, that makes project risk management a central part of the project management toolset.
Don’t think of it as an add-on. Nor even as a discipline in its own right. Instead, it’s best to regard risk management as a thread that runs through the heart of project management.
I tend to agree with Tim Lister’s often re-quoted statement that:
‘Risk Management is Project Management for Grown-Ups’
What I take from this is that, when you understand how projects work, and can manage a basic project effectively, you will increasingly use project risk management as your primary framework for controlling your project.
Project Managers know that projects are risky. Project risk management is therefore a vital discipline.
Indeed, a focus on project risk is a sign of real project management maturity.
Dr Mike Clayton is founder of OnlinePMCourses.com.
Here, he answers this question, in under 5 minutes.
If you are taking on Project Management, you will need to come to terms with its necessary consequence: project risk. It’s a topic I’ll be covering a lot, over time, because it is so central to project management. I have already written, at length, about why projects go wrong. In this article, we’ll look at some of the sources of project risk.
In last week’s article, we looked at how to make robust project decisions. This week, I want to turn up the pressure to look at rapid decision making in projects.
What can you do to maintain the rigor, transparency, and reliability of your decision making, but also turn up the speed?