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The Risk of Success
By Carol A Long

Risk management in projects is often seen as the work done to avoid something going wrong: risk management methods, review plans and products for failure, identification and documentation of the risk, the analysis of costs and impact, contingency plans in place for when things go wrong.

Are you looking for the risk of success?

All the estimate padding in the plan wasn’t needed, there were no team issues and things went smoothly, the guy you recruited to build the widget is brilliant and finishes 3 weeks early, on launch day five times more customers arrive, your website gets an unexpected a positive mention on the radio breakfast show from an industry expert you were chatting with about the prototype.

Have you planned for too much success: is the solution scalable, have you extra capacity, can your suppliers handle the burden or do you have a methods for allocation of product (which some manufacturers do for every new product) that tells everyone how you will drip feed the supply if there is a very high demand?

Does the financial viability change at different points in the volumes of sale: does it become loss making if too many are sold because the extra orders need high cost production, extra staff or urgent shipping?

Success for which an organization is not ready is very damaging to reputation and can mean some potential customers will not consider your offering because it is too hard to obtain: a thought that will stay with them for years to come.

Review your risk log: does it include the risk of success?

© 2011 Carol A Long, All Rights Reserved

Carol A Long is Principal Consultant of Three Triangles Performance Ltd ( based in England providing programme and project management consulting and interim management. Carol specialises in the corporate governance aspects of project management, improving project management practices in organisations, and turnarounds of challenged business critical change and transformation programmes. She has written parts of the international project management standards for professional bodies in USA and Europe. Before founding 3Triangles in 2006, Carol had 21 years experience with multinational organisations in software development, quality improvement and management, and coaching project and programme managers. You can follow Carol on twitter.

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