Risk management is activity directed towards the assessing, mitigating (to an acceptable level) and monitoring of risks. In some cases the acceptable risk may be near zero. Risks can come from accidents, natural causes and disasters as well as deliberate attacks from an adversary. The main ISO standards on risk management. The strategies include transferring the risk to another party, avoiding the risk, reducing the negative effect of the risk, and accepting some or all of the consequences of a particular.
Project Risk Management
A risk is something that may happen and if it does, will have a positive or negative impact on the project. A few points here. “That may happen” implies a probability of less then 100%. If it has a probability of 100% – in other words it will happen – it is an issue. An issue is managed differently to a risk and we will handle issue management in a later white paper. A risk must also have a probability something above 0%. It must be a chance to happen or it is not a risk. The second thing to consider from the definition is “will have a positive or negative impact”. Most people dive into the negative risks but what if something goes right?
There are different sorts of risks and we need to decide on a project by project basis what to do about each type. Business risks are ongoing risks that are best handled by the business. An example is that if the project cannot meet end of financial year deadline, the business area may need to retain their existing accounting system for another year. The response is likely to be a contingency plan developed by the business, to use the existing system for another year. Generic risks are risks to all projects. For example the risk that business users might not be available and requirements may be incomplete. Each organisation will develop standard responses to generic risks.
Avoid the risk. Do something to remove it. Use another supplier for example. Transfer the risk. Make someone else responsible. Perhaps a Vendor can be made responsible for a particularly risky part of the project. Mitigate the risk. Take actions to lessen the impact or chance of the risk occurring. If the risk relates to availability of resources, draw up an agreement and get sign-off for the resource to be available. Accept the risk. The risk might be so small the effort to do anything is not worth while.
A risk response plan should include the strategy and action items to address the strategy. The actions should include what needs to be done, who is doing it, and when it should be completed.
The final step is to continually monitor risks to identify any change in the status, or if they turn into an issue. It is best to hold regular risk reviews to identify actions outstanding, risk probability and impact, remove risks that have passed, and identify new risks.
Risk management is not a complex task. If you follow the four steps, you can put together a risk management plan for a project in a short space of time.