Issue identification fit for the purpose

Figure 7.1 shows the identify phase terminating once the identification of issues is 'fit for the purpose'. It can be very difficult to decide when this point has been reached. On the first pass it should be anticipated that there will be a return to the identify phase from later phases in the RMP as insights and issues from analysis emerge. On a first pass it is appropriate to aim for a higher-level overview than is likely to be necessary in later passes, to avoid detailed analysis, which would later prove wasted. This principle should be followed on subsequent passes too, but there is always a risk that further iterations do not happen. Further, inefficiencies associated with too many iterations to get to a given level of analysis in a given area may add to the cost of analysis significantly, depending on how iterations are managed. This reinforces the case for making the identify phase as complete as possible before proceeding to the next phase. If sources, and responses, and associated secondary issues (response chains) are not properly understood, any subsequent risk management can be a complete waste of resources. That said, time management pressures and the availability of key people may require getting on with some of the next phase while the identify phase is still in progress. Delays associated with an incomplete define phase can aggravate this difficulty. Regarding an RMP as a project in its own right, this is 'fast-tracking' in a fairly extreme form, rather like starting to put up a building before the foundations are fully in place. Any attempt to 'fast-track' the RMP needs to be managed with great care.

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