Understanding How This Applies to Your Next Project

Risk management and all the processes it involves is not a process I recommend you skip on any size of project. This is where the Boy Scouts of America motto, "Be Prepared" is wise advice. If you haven't examined what could be lurking around the corner on your project and come up with a plan to deal with it, then you can be assured you're in for some surprises. Then again, if you like living on the edge, never knowing what might occur next, you'll probably find yourself back on the job-hunting scene sooner than you planned (oh, wait, you didn't plan because you're living on the edge).

In all seriousness, as with most of the Planning processes I've discussed so far, risk management should be scaled to match the complexity and size of your project. If you're working on a small project with a handful of team members and a short timeline, it doesn't make sense to spend a lot of time on risk planning. However, it does warrant spending some time identifying project risk, determining impact and probability, and documenting a plan to deal with the risk.

My two favorite Identify Risks techniques are brainstorming and the Nominal Group Technique. Both techniques help you quickly get to the risks with the greatest probability and impact because, more than likely, these are the first risks that come to mind. Identify Risks can also help the project team find alternative ways of completing the work of the project. Further digging and the ideas generated from initial identification might reveal opportunities or alternatives you wouldn't have thought about during the regular Planning processes.

After you've identified the risks with the greatest impact to the project, document response plans that are appropriate for the risk. Small projects might have only one or two risks that need a response plan. The plans might consist of only a sentence or two, depending on the size of the project. I would question a project where no risks require a response plan. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

The avoid, transfer, and mitigate strategies are the most often used strategies to deal with risk, along with contingency planning. Of these, mitigation and contingency planning are probably the most common. Mitigation generally recognizes that the risk will likely occur and attempts to reduce the impact.

I have used brainstorming and the Nominal Group Technique to strategize response plans for risks on small projects. When you're working on a small project, you can typically identify, quantify, and create response plans for risks at one meeting.

Identifying positive risk, in my experience, is fairly rare. Typically, when my teams perform Identify Risks, it's to determine what can go wrong and how bad the impact will be if it does. The two most important concepts from this chapter that you should apply to your next project are that you and your team should identify risks and create response plans to deal with the most significant ones.



Tap Directly Into Your Creative Mind... And Easily Access YOUR Million-Dollar Ideas Ideas are the lifeblood of success... and the best ideas originate with brainstorming. Brainstorming can help you successfully fix any problem, build any business, generate any plan, or develop any story. But the problem is that most people have no clue how to effectively brainstorm - either by themselves or with groups. You can waste a lot of time coming up with old, boring ideas that won't work... and the whole time you actually believe that you are brainstorming.

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