Managing Small Projects
Illustration by Neil Webb

Managing risk


From:

Managing Small Projects

with Bonnie Biafore
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lynda.com's PMI® Program
This course qualifies for 1.50 PDUs towards maintaining PMI® certification. Learn More

Video: Managing risk

Your project might have more risks than you could handle. So you have to decide which risks you're going to track and manage. For the risks that are significant enough to plan for, you have to decide how you will respond if the risk occurs. To select the risks you're going to track and manage, you assess each risk you've identified by asking two questions: how likely is it that the risk will occur? For example, construction projects almost always seem to be delayed, so the likelihood of it occurring is high.

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Watch the Online Video Course Managing Small Projects
1h 37m Beginner Jan 17, 2013

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Have you wondered how to make your small projects run as smoothly as possible—without building in so many steps that they get cumbersome? In this course, author and project manager Bonnie Biafore shows how a successful small project starts with planning: documenting goals, identifying risks, measuring success, and confirming decision makers. The course also covers organizing your files, estimating time and costs, building a solid team, scheduling work, and getting the project underway. In addition, you'll explore how to hand out and track assignments, communicate with the team, work through issues, and bring your project to a close. This course follows the relocation of a small business as the sample project, but the course's strategies apply to a wide variety of small projects, including those in marketing, business development, product development, software development, freelancing, and the like.

This course qualifies for 1.5 Category A professional development units (PDUs) through lynda.com, PMI Registered Education Provider #4101.

Topics include:
  • Defining the life cycle and scope of small projects
  • Identifying the project customer and other stakeholders
  • Determining the right level of management
  • Collaborating
  • Scheduling work
  • Managing risk
  • Keeping things moving
  • Evaluating the project
  • Getting sign-off and tying up loose ends

  • The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
Subjects:
Business Education + Elearning
Author:
Bonnie Biafore

Managing risk

Your project might have more risks than you could handle. So you have to decide which risks you're going to track and manage. For the risks that are significant enough to plan for, you have to decide how you will respond if the risk occurs. To select the risks you're going to track and manage, you assess each risk you've identified by asking two questions: how likely is it that the risk will occur? For example, construction projects almost always seem to be delayed, so the likelihood of it occurring is high.

The second question is how big is the impact if it does occur? If the opening day for the new space is critical, the construction delay would have a huge impact. So the construction delay risk is definitely one you will plan for. Ask the same people who helped you identify risks to help you assess their probability and impact. After you evaluate all the risks, the next step is to decide which ones you will manage. If you categorize probability and impact using low, medium and high, you might manage risks if you rate them medium or high in either probability or impact.

You can create a spreadsheet to record information about each risk you plan to manage. The next step in planning for risks is to decide how you'll respond to each risk in your plan. There are several ways to manage risks. The easiest option is to simply accept the consequences. For example, with the relocation, commercial space is hard to find, so there is a chance that a suitable space won't be available when you want it. You decide that you're okay with waiting in order to get the space you want.

Another option for less significant risks is to use contingency funds to handle the risk. For instance, you plan to use contingency funds to pay over time in order to get the work done in time. Avoiding risk is another option. That means, you change your project plan in some way to remove the risky part. For example, if the flooring you would prefer is often backordered, you might choose a different type of flooring instead. Mitigating risk means taking action to reduce the consequences.

For example, with the relocation, you might opt for a simple floor plan, so that construction delays won't be as long if they do occur. Transferring risk means handing off the risk to someone else. Purchasing insurance is one way to transfer risk. A fixed-price contract is another way to transfer the risk of cost increases. When you choose responses, make sure they are appropriate for the magnitude of the risk. If you think a delayed opening day will cost you $2000, don't spend $5,000 to prevent the delay.

The final step in a risk management plan is defining how you will track risks and measure the success of the risk responses. Add each risk you're going to manage. Here are the things to identify for each risk. A description of the risk such as a construction delay, the response you have chosen, the trigger that indicates that you need to implement the response you chose, like the contractor telling you there is a delay, who is going to monitor the risk, and the result you expect if you have to actually use the response you chose.

Now that you have a plan for the risks your project faces, all you have to do is start following that plan once the project work begins.

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