“Failing to plan is planning to fail – did you plan for all that snow?”

A cornerstone of good planning is to not only plan for the most likely scenario, but also potential for other outcomes as well.    As you create and maintain your plan, you and your team should work to identify the risks that could -if they occurred-  adversely impact your desired outcome.    Many of the risks should be well known to you and the team, as they are common to your industry and organization.     Other risks may be unique to your projects, and require creativity to uncover them before they actually turn into issues.

One of the techniques that I’ve found to be effective in helping the team to come up with risks, is the “6 Thinking Hats” technique taught by Edward deBono.    If you’re not familiar with it – you can learn more here

One way or another, you need to help the team discover the reasonable risks that could impact your project.   For example:  if your project was hosting a major event in Chicago,  then a major blizzard shutting down Chicago, might be worth having a contingency plan in place.  Once you’ve identified the risks, you have to gain agreement about what to do about them.  

  • Do you accept the risk and roll the dice?  (this is often an acceptable approach)
  • Do you add to the budget as a contingency?
  • Do you add time to the schedule as contingency?
  • Do you change contracts or shift the risk to somewhere else?
  • Do you change the plans to avoid the risk altogether?

The key is that being aware of the risk (both probability and impact) gives you an opportunity to make good business decisions about how to managed and possibly mitigate the risks in a way that is consistent with your sponsor’s objectives.

How did the blizzard affect you and your projects – was it in your plans?

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Article source: HP PPM Blog

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