Archives for the month of: July, 2014

We are on the last step of the 5-step process being defined to handle risks regarding your project.

With the risks identified and ranked, you and your team are ready to talk about how to mitigate these risks. Again, since generally teams are not staffed to handle every risk identified, the prioritization helps focus resources on the top-most risks. The rest go on a watch list that needs to be monitored in case things change. Read the rest of this entry »


Today’s Daily Prompt asks:

It was sunny when you left home, so you didn’t take an umbrella. An hour later, you’re caught in a torrential downpour. You run into the first store you can find — it happens to be a dark, slightly shabby antique store, full of old artifacts, books, and dust. The shop’s ancient proprietor walks out of the back room to greet you. Tell us what happens next.

I greet the proprietor, in return. We exchange some pleasantries and discuss the weather. I don’t make any excuses about why I stepped inside his store but rather admit that I do not tend to visit antique stores regularly. I wish I did. I loved “The Antique Roadshow” on PBS, but I never developed the habit of hunting down such treasures. Read the rest of this entry »

At this point in the process, the known risks for the project have been identified and captured in a risk register, which can be a simple spreadsheet. Since no project is staffed to deal with every identified risk, it is necessary to prioritize the risks to focus resources on the biggest potential problems first. To determine the rank order:

1. Assess the probability and impact of each risk.

  • Probability is the likelihood of a risk actually happening.
  • Impact reflects the detriment to the project if it does.

2. Determine the rank by multiplying the value of the probability and the impact. Read the rest of this entry »

There are potential events you know about (i.e. known risks). There are potential events that you have no idea about (i.e. unknown risk). It is important to uncover as many known risks (both threats and opportunities) as possible to avoid costing the project time and money. Therefore, risk identification is not a project manager-only role, but rather, it is done best when many are involved. This post covers how risks can be identified and recorded. Read the rest of this entry »

According to the global standard for project management (as established by Project Management Institute), before you go off to do anything, you should plan what you are going to do. That even includes planning how you will manage risks. Yes, you must decide upfront (before you are deep into the muck of your project) how you will handle several key questions: Read the rest of this entry »

Do you mange risks?

As a project manager, do you do risk management? Are you aware of potential events that can throw off your project’s cost, quality, or schedule? Are you doing anything to protect against these events? Or since they are not a problem right now, then are you going about executing your plan until something unplanned comes up?

If this is your attitude, then you are not currently doing risk management. Risk management is an important part of project management that, in the long run, saves you time and money. Read the rest of this entry »

Early in my career, I was busy managing a team of engineers when the organization in which I worked was to be merged with another organization. The two organizations had nearly identical organizational structures, so a group similar to mine already existed in the other organization. This posed a dilemma. What should be done about these two groups?

The answer to this question emerged through an observation made by the man who’d become my new boss. He recognized an ability in me that I hadn’t recognized myself, and that was to manage projects. With that, the two groups were merged, and the other manager took over this, now larger group. I, in turn, started running projects and developed a fascination with the process of project management.

You see, to me, project management is a means of figuring out how to eat an elephant.

Question: How do you eat an elephant?

Answer: One bite at a time!

Project management helps you figure out what those bite-sized pieces are. [This is for illustration purposes only. I do not endorse the eating of elephants nor any other animal.] Project management helps you take what seems to be a ginormous task and breaks it down into manageable pieces so that you can achieve it.

Many folks think that project management is rigid and bureaucratic. For most projects, it doesn’t need to be that way. A key element to project management is that the project manager has to figure out the right amount of project management structure needed to run each project effectively and efficiently.

To that end, I want to discuss a process I find critical in my project management practice: managing risks. The process I’ll discuss over the next few posts is a minimalist strategy. It is about:

  1. Planning how to do risk management
  2. Identifying risks
  3. Prioritizing the identified risks
  4. Defining the actions to take on top risks
  5. Taking action on the top risks while watching for new ones

I have used this approach effectively for many projects. If you do no risk management at all, it is a good place to start. It is how I got started.