Prior Approaches Individual Risk

In the literature on IS project failure and the management of risks, there are two approaches to achieving IS project success. Both these approaches seek to establish discrete risk elements to be separately managed. One of the approaches recommends managing IS project risks through the identification and control of individual risk items, the risk management approach. A second approach is based on contingency theory: project success is contingent upon the presence of some set of factors. The second approach is predominant in the IS implementation literature.[6]

Several distinctions can be drawn between these two approaches. First, it can be argued that the contingency factors are framed as positive elements that affect the success of a project, whereas risk factors are framed as negative elements that cause failure. These two streams can be further differentiated in that the stream dealing with contingency factors represents a static view of projects, with the implicit assumption that once a factor is present (e.g., top management support) it remains present. In contrast, the risk management perspective represents a more dynamic view, suggesting that risk factors (e.g., the possibility of a lack of top management support) represent a constant threat and must be managed actively for the entire duration of the project and thus lends itself to the discussion of management processes and strategies more than do event-based contingency factors. The remaining discussion is built upon the ideas of managing risk.

A number of authors[7] have sought to propose ways of managing IS project risk. Anecdotal prescriptions have been offered but, like many such prescriptions, they smack somewhat of the "silver bullet."[8] However, one thing these authors have in common is their suggestion that if risk is to be managed, it must first be identified. In prior literature,[9] the management strategy proposed has been to develop checklists of risks and then to manage each risk as a distinct entity. However, complex projects may have many risks, and managing such a multiplicity of risks, some undefined or unrecognized, as unique items on a checklist is impractical. Managers need a means of reducing long checklists to some manageable form without discarding any of the risk items. A possible solution to this problem is now discussed.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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