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Managing Project Management Template Risks for Projects

December 17 2009

Managing Project Risks

If all of our projects just smoothly followed our project schedule we’d have it made.  No issues, no budget overruns, no cranky customers, no scope changes.  But that’s not the case.  There are always going be some issues, the budget never manages itself, the customer always has a few demands, and scope is usually a challenge to manage and keep in check.

What I haven’t touched on yet is project risk.  What is risk in terms of project management templates?  One definition goes like this…

“A possible event that could endanger the planned course or goals of the project.”

Do we need to manage for these risks, these ‘possible’ events that may or may not happen?  Or can we just leave things to chance and worry about them if and when they happen?  You can, but the impact may be so great and blindside you so badly that the project can get knocked way off course or could come to a complete halt.

As part of a sound and solid project management process, it is far better to plan for risk and look for ways to avoid a specific risk even happening or ways to work through an risk event should it actually happen.  Basically, every company with a formalized project management methodology should have a risk management component.

Risk items are likely to come up on nearly every project you manage.  Training yourself to recognize potential risks as they arise is a critical piece of your overall project management process and something you and your project team need to work very hard with the customer to do well.

Sometimes you have to think out-of-the box – think in terms of what-if scenarios.  And as you identify potential risks associated with tasks and milestones in your project plan, document them and revisit them every week with your team and your customer.  Above all, be proactive.  Approaching risks in this manner will help you to better recognize the event should it occur and be much better prepared to deal with it.  And in the long run that means your project has a far greater chance for success.