This video describes the most common, pragmatic approaches to identifying risks specific to your project.
- Moving forward on a project without performing risk identification is like heading on a hike in the wilderness without a GPS. It's easy to get yourself quite lost when you encounter the unexpected and don't have anything to help you navigate. Risks represent the unexpected in my hiking analogy. Different types of projects have different risks and if you don't know your risks, the probability of them occurring and the impact they'll have, it's impossible to manage them. So an appropriate risk identification process is crucial.
Here are risk identification approaches I recommend for use with your projects. The first approach is to hold a brainstorming session, also called a risk workshop. As they say, several heads are better than one, and this holds true when identifying project risks. For these workshops however, don't limit yourself to your project team. It's a good idea to involve your stakeholders, sponsor, and potentially other project managers in this workshop. To make these sessions more effective, it's important that you use a list of questions, also called a prompt list.
For example, is your customer organization used to change? Are there external factors that will impact your project? Does a lack of a particular skill in the organization present a risk? What are the lessons learned from previous projects? In the this session, have everyone come up with their top five risks, and remember that through this exercise, traditional brainstorming rules apply. Capture all the potential risks. There are no bad ideas. You'll sort through them later.
If you need some ideas for your prompt list, I've provided sample questions that you can download in the Exercise Files for this course. Examples include, what would be most likely to become more expensive to produce than what we expect, and why? Which of our project team members is mostly likely to have another priority item assigned to him? What would the impact be? The second risk identification method I recommend is to use industry-specific risk categories. For example, in the construction industry, there are safety risks.
In IT, there are information security risks and risk involving making solutions too complex. To help, most industry associations have online resources and risk tools that you can leverage. Use them to identify risks if you're a member of an association that makes risk resources available. You might also find resources through other project managers involved in your industry. The Project Management Institute also has project management standards for projects in government, software, and construction.
The last technique to consider for risk identification is to examine your work breakdown structure, or WBS, and identify risk by task or groups of tasks. Using the tasks in the WBS can trigger risk ideas that you otherwise might miss. This is a good last step to help ensure you've thoroughly considered risks that may impact your project. You can't address risks you haven't identified. Launching your risk management approach with thorough and well-considered risk identification practices will help you avoid being lost in the project wilderness without a GPS.
Note: This course follows the latest guidance from Project Management Institute, Inc., as outlined the PMBOK® 6 Guide.
- Explore why dealing with risks needs to be part of the everyday process used to manage a project.
- Learn to outline the most common, pragmatic approaches to identifying risks specific to a project.
- Recall methods for qualifying and quantifying your risks to determine specific risks and manage their costs.
- Examine the primary considerations for a project risk plan and what components should be included in every plan.
- Assess techniques that help you identify the overall risk a project presents to your business.
- Examine several risk analysis and filtering examples that help ensure you've addressed individual risks properly on your project.