Preston Smith's Corner

How are other companies doing at managing project risk?

January 2004 Quick Tip

Not too well, and this is one reason why we decided to publish our book, Proactive Risk Management.

Typically today, a company has a stages-and-gates development process, and the first stage requires that the team identify and document the project’s risks. Because this is a required deliverable, it happens, and the risks are discussed at the first project review.

However, this is as far as it goes, and the risks wait like a time bomb in the project file. The development process doesn’t call for analyzing the risks, prioritizing them, or taking action against them. All of the benefit of project risk management stems from these later steps, which seldom occur.

Worse, when the identified but unmanaged risks start happening later in the project, it is embarrassing to the team and management to see that they had identified this risk but then done nothing to prevent or prepare for it. It would have been better to not have even identified the risks initially than to set themselves up for this embarrassment.

So, don’t get caught in this middle ground. Either ignore project risk management altogether or complete the risk management process, even if only for a few of your largest risks.

Of course, our book or our project risk management services will help you put a beneficial project risk management process in place, but you can get started easily by reading some of our articles on the subject, such as, “A Portrait Of Risk” or “Dealing With Project Risks Successfully.”

(c) Copyright 2013 Preston G. Smith. All Rights Reserved.


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