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A Risk Management Lesson – Response Formulation (#3 in the series A Risk Management Lesson)
By Andy Murray

Let’s look at one impact specifically – the damaged or stolen laptop. What can we do? PRINCE2™ suggests there are 5 possible responses to a risk:

Prevention – also known as avoidance, i.e. leaving your laptop at home. This is probably only possible on the outward journey. And it has the downside of you not being able to use your laptop while you are away, so probably not a good option.

Reduction – trying to reduce either the likelihood or impact. So we could buy an armoured and lockable case (example) to reduce the likelihood of the laptop being damaged. We could keep all of our essential data on a memory card or web-repository to reduce the impact of lost work. We could create a disk image of our laptop (using applications such as Norton Ghost) to reduce the impact of having to rebuild or replace the laptop. For anyone who’s been through this process it takes days, if not weeks to rebuild a laptop from scratch.

Transference – sometimes referred to as insurance. So in this instance we can insure our laptop for theft or damage. Or we could pursue the carrier for compensation – which is based on the weight of the damaged item (approx 20 euros per kilo) so make sure you put your laptop in a heavy case! In both cases we are likely to get back less money than the laptop is worth.

Acceptance – do nothing. Just accept that these things might happen and deal with it when it does.

Contingency – prepared actions that you will only implement should the risk occur. In this case we might decide to courier our laptop to our destination rather than put it in the hold.

When formulating responses it is important to consider any down-sides. For example, I could choose not to travel (prevention) but whilst preventing the risks it also prevents the benefits from my business trip.

Andy Murray is a director of Outperform UK Ltd, a management consultancy helping clients improve their bid, project and programme management performance through the practical application of structured methods. Outperform is an Accredited Consulting Organisation (ACO) and is ISO 9001 certified. Andy previously sat on the Executive Committee for Best Practice User Group™ (BPUG™) which represents users on behalf of OGC for their best practice trilogy of PRINCE2™, Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) and Management of Risk (M_o_R®). Andy’s runs a professional blog, PRINCE2:2009 Project, where he shares his thoughts about PRINCE2.

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