Managing project risks

Every project faces risks and potential failure due to the number of factors. Risks that come along  the project can be caused internally and externally, can be predicted or not. For the success rate  of the project to be as high as possible, the management and the team need to strive for diligent  risk management and set it as a basis of managing the project.

IT projects and IT solution implementation are time consuming and costly, and issues appearing  can affect the delivery and project expectations. It the key aspect of project planning to analyse project mission and systematically approach risk mitigation.

There are many risk management frameworks that can be applied through a variety of industries. One of the methodologies is included as a domain in Microsoft Solutions Framework, a platform  for managing project. The approach takes risk management as a foundation and indulges with  risk management proactively. There are 6 steps in the methodology:

1. Identification
Initial step includes project team to engage in brainstorming session laying out the possible
risks. The advice is to group them in like matter issue ranges. Depending on the nature of the
project, risk assessment can be included in the sprint planning (if SCRUM is the method
used), project planning… If the team is less experienced, the advice is to take the approach
“if-then”.
It is an imperative to in depth analyse the steps and stages, as well as domains, of the project
and to deliver comprehensive overview of the risks. Having risks that are predictable allows
the team to prepare and react in time. Unexpected risks arising can affect the very existence
of the project.

Risks that many face and overlook (e.g.):
– Money inflow is outside of the expected schedule or not coming through at all.
– Unclear project requirements leading to misunderstanding and to false results.
– Vertical detachment where the other aspects of the delivery are not synchronised (marketing,
development, social structure, CRM)
– Insufficient human resource capacity can be caused by assigning unqualified team members
or not predicting the possible development of members leaving the project.
– Complexity of the project surpasses the capabilities
– Results are not reflecting the effort on the market

2. Analysing risks
In this step, all the risks that are identified are to be prioritised according to is relevance
(impact and probability)

3. Mitigation planing
Team should then format the plan of how to approach each one of the risks and how to solve
them. Important factors are: time required to mitigate, costs and what are the triggers to take
on the action.

4. Monitoring
It is expected that the team reassesses risks periodically to resemble the updated
surrounding. It is essential to track risks from the plans perspective and to assess new risks if
any arise.

5. Control
The step in which the plan is executed, the reactive process. The step where the planned
tasks and actions are integrated in activities of the project.

6. Learning
Often the risks that may arise along the project cannot be pre-identified and can catch the
team off guard. Those risks are to be included in the project and described for the next cycles
and projects. It is as important to assess the viability of the risk management process and its
effectiveness to restructure it if necessary.