Preston Smith's Corner

Is project risk management a methodical process?

April 2002 Quick Tip

As we interact with managers about our forthcoming book, Proactive Risk Management, we receive questions about the apparently methodical process of risk management, especially in contrast with the tools covered in our established book, Developing Products in Half the Time. Some managers are comforted that we are offering a more definite process, while others are concerned that a formula is too mechanistic. I believe that both groups are correct, and I hope that we have provided an appropriate balance.

There is a definite process underlying project risk management, and all effective practitioners of whom I am aware follow variations of it. We provide a core process and encourage readers to adapt the process to their organization’s needs and culture, as well as its markets and technologies.

However, there is much more to successful implementation than the process, just as there is much more to effective product development than its process. Our new book provides a chapter devoted to implementation issues, such as integrating risk management into project management and team structures, training, executive involvement, dealing with counterproductive firefighting and “kill the messenger” behaviors, and continuous improvement. Another chapter addresses risk management strategies and approaches, including addressing the risky items first, viewing failure advantageously, and customer involvement. Without an understanding of these topics, the corporate immune system will reject any new process.

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

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