Project Management: Identifying Risks
By Luke Miller, Northwest University
Identifying and planning for risks should occur at the beginning of a project and be continuously revisited throughout the project. Risk is defined, as an event or condition that may or may not occur, if it does happen, the outcome will positively or negatively affects the project. There are several techniques to help identify risks.
One of the most widely used and effective ways to identify risk is through brainstorming sessions. A brainstorming team should consist of all major stakeholders on the project. There should be a facilitator that keeps the group moving and gives everyone involved an equal chance to be heard. The point of this exercise is to list as many potential risks as possible. Do not hold back, name risks big and small. There is no need analyze and worry about how likely or unlikely the risk during a brainstorming session. The point here is simply to identify risks.
Interviews are another way to identify risks. The interviewer needs to have a set of predetermined questions that will prompt the interviewee to think about all aspects of the project. The project manager can interview a stakeholder with a different area of expertise. For example, the project manager may interview an engineer about the possible risk associated with his or her phase of the project. Interviewing stakeholders who have different experience will provide a well-rounded list of risks.
We have all heard that the past can be a window into the future and there is no difference when identifying risks. Analyzing historical records can help identify risks that have occurred on similar projects in the past. Not only will historical records identify risks, they should show the outcome of these risks. Problem logs can be critical when reoccurring risk is associated with similar projects.
Northwest University opened to students on October 1, 1934. It is a regionally accredited institution awarding associate, baccalaureate, and master’s degrees.
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