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11/08/2012

Five Tips for Successful Project Risk Management

By Chris Bell

 
Ready to take some risks?  Effective risk project management is becoming an increasingly valuable tool.

Effective risk management is increasingly seen as an essential element of delivering successful projects. With a project risk management process and system, risks to the project can be identified early and minimized, and teams will be able to seize opportunities as they occur.

Use the five tips below to help deliver projects on time, on budget, and with the highest quality results.

Tip 1: End the ‘Walk on by’ Culture and Involve the Entire Project Team

Risk management must be a part of your project embraced by all team members. Rather than teams looking blindly to the project manager and assuming he is managing all risk for the project, the entire team must be involved. In my experience, the organizations that are the most successful at project risk management have both a top down and a bottom up approach – risk management is mandated and supported from senior management, and each team member is empowered to speak up and take action. Employees who identify risks early are recognized and rewarded.

Tip 2: Identify Risks Early – Even in the Bid-Phase

Before the project even begins, your team should be already working to identify risks. Begin by gathering all project members (and other employees and partners who have worked on related projects) into workshops and brainstorm a list of potential risks and opportunities. Consult the project plan, old project plans, online resources, and outside experts to make sure your list of probable risks is as complete as possible.

Tip 3: Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

To ensure risks are continuously identified and communicated appropriately, add project risks and opportunity discussions as a standing topic to the team’s regular meetings. The benefits of open communication trickle up, as the project manager will have better information to report to the project sponsor or principal, ensuring that the customer doesn’t have unexpected surprises.  Open communication also allows for the identification of interrelated risks – risks that appear small on their own, but may act as a catalyst for larger problems.

Tip 4: Analyze and Prioritize – then Reprioritize

As risks are identified during a project, teams must decide how to prioritize them. Overall, risks should be measured by the impact they could have on the project goals, and start with those that could cause the biggest losses and gains, and those with the highest probability of occurrence. Once you have a set of risk criteria, use it to assess all risks as they are identified during a project.

Risks may be rescored and reprioritized as they pass up the project hierarchy and organization, based on the different priorities at each level. What may be seen as a less important risk by a single project might be viewed as more important at the program or organizational level. Here a wider picture becomes clear across multiple projects and strategic priorities, rather than operational needs, apply. For example, a lack of skills seen in multiple projects may be best addressed by a company-wide training program.

Tip 5: Plan and Implement Risk Responses

Once your risks are identified, analyzed, and prioritized, the risk response is the activity that adds value to your project. The right response can prevent a risk from occurring or minimize its negative effects. Responses include risk avoidance, risk minimization, risk transfer and risk acceptance.

By implementing risk management into a project early, and ensuring risks are openly communicated throughout the project, teams can be more successful in delivering on time and on budget, by avoiding unexpected risks and sticking to the project timeline. And last of all, share what worked – and what didn’t, throughout the business so the future bids and projects have a library of best practices to call on.

How has risk management helped your organization complete projects successfully? Are you sharing best practices across the business?

Chris Bell is the Chief Marketing Officer at ERM software provider Active Risk.

 

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04/15/2014

The EPA's annual greenhouse gas emissions report is now available.

04/14/2014

Are you what some would call a “climate-change denier”? If so, you'll want to read this.

04/10/2014
Los Angeles has remained the top city for ENERGY STAR certified building since 2008, while Washington, D.C. continues to hold onto second place for the fifth consecutive year, according to a new list released by the EPA.
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Green construction has grown massively over a short period of time.
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04/03/2014
Building owners in Chicago now have more options when it comes to getting their building energy data verified.
04/01/2014
According to a new report from Eaton, such outages are up 15% in 2013 over 2012 and over half of those surveyed believe that downtime could have been prevented.
03/31/2014
The newly revised ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 105-2014, Standard Methods of Determining, Expressing, and Comparing Building Energy Performance and Greenhouse Gas Emissions, aims to provide a consistent method of measuring, expressing, and comparing the energy performance of buildings.
03/27/2014
Facility managers face an every expanding array of sustainability choices and challenges, but for the next generation of FMs, green practices could be second nature as sustainability literacy enters the K-12 school system.
03/25/2014
While the economic recession explains the decline in sales in 2008 and 2009, it is much less clear why sales have continued to fall.
03/24/2014
University of Washington (UW) scientists have built the thinnest known LED that can be used as a source of light energy in electronics.
03/21/2014
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed Senate Bill 2378 into law, effectively enacting the state’s first building code.
03/19/2014
In an attempt to improve building energy performance, the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory has released a web-based tool called the Technology Performance Exchange, or TPEx.
03/18/2014
Could green building practices pose unanticipated life-safety hazards?
03/13/2014
Worried about workplace violence in your facility? Researchers have discovered that “mindfully observing” high-risk employees can avert danger and workplace violence.
03/11/2014
Through the DOE’s Building Energy Codes Program, every dollar the DOE has spent on building energy codes over the past two decades has resulted in $400 in energy cost savings.
03/07/2014
It is possible to harvest energy from Earth's thermal infrared emission into outer space, according to new research from the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
03/05/2014
Is your building prepared to handle an emergency?
03/04/2014
NASCAR revealed five newly installed charging stations for employee use.
03/03/2014
In response to California’s worst drought on record, an overwhelming majority of voters favor strategies to stretch local water supplies, including recycling, rainwater harvesting, and efficiency measures, according to a new poll conducted on behalf of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
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