Risk management can be one of the most challenging knowledge areas during a project so as to implement it successfully.
As Kiron Bondale written in one of his ProjectTimes.com article, there are many ways in which a project team can fail to receive all the benefits of an effective risk management. Even when risks are being appropriately identified and analyzed, the effective risk response development and the proper implementation of planning is a frequent point of failure due to the inexperience or the lack of engagement from upper management.
There are multiple dependencies between project management knowledge areas and especially with risk management. If your team does not sufficiently define and decompose scope, it cripples their ability to thoroughly identify risks using a bottom-up approach. So start Identify Risk process when you start to compose the WBS and do not finish it until WBS is finished. Moreover, consider the Risks that are “hidden” between Product scope and Project Scope (see the case study of “In Tiempo Towers)!
Furthermore, another critical dependency that usually is overlooked is between stakeholder engagement and the communication about responses to risks (threats and opportunities). We don’t identify, analyze & communicate risks just because they matter to us. We need them to matter to our key stakeholders and especially to those who we’ve identified as risk response owners. So here is the dependency with Stakeholders Management and building a proper “Stakeholder Register” from the beginning.
Let’s assume you haven’t identified all key stakeholders nor engaged them by providing an overview of the project and taking the time to gauge their level of interest and influence. When risk identification has been completed, through the subsequent analysis you realize that the right response owner for one of the critical risks happens to be a stakeholder who you have never met or speak (see a relevant video)!
If your very first interaction with that stakeholder is to ask for their support in responding to some risks on a project that they’ve no familiarity with, how successful do you think you will be at getting their buy-in? Without having a good understanding of what’s important to them or what their desired communication style is, even if they are aware of you project, the risks and how they are being communicated might not generate the true sense of urgency which you are looking for.
This is not to say that you must wait until all stakeholders have been identified, engaged and analyzed before commencing risk management activities. Like most project management practices, risk management is iterative – it’s perfectly fine to do a high-level risk assessment with your core team in the early days of a project before you’ve met with all key stakeholders. But ensure that stakeholder engagement ranks high on the list of prerequisites for conducting a detailed risk identification and analysis session – ignore this and you can safely add stakeholders as a key source of risk to your project!
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