Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Project Support Office and Risk and Issues Administration - PM Hut

The Project Support Office and Risk and Issues Administration
By Richard Morreale
Risk and Issues management is one of those things that we know we need to do but in a lot of cases we don’t seem to have the time to do it well. So what do a lot of Project Managers do? They give lip service to it. They put a Risk and Issues list together and every now and then they update it but in between the updates they really don’t have the time to manage the list.
As an aside, another thing I find is that there is usually a big discussion about whether something is a Risk or an Issue. From a Project Management standpoint, who cares? Some action is going to have to be taken whether it is a Risk or an Issue and you just need to make sure that the action is taken. How do I do it to make sure that it gets done?
I assign administration of the Risk and Issues Management System to my Project Support Office.
The Risk and Issues Management Systems must cater for:
  1. The initial identification of the Projects Risks and Issues. This is usually done in a workshop attended by all of the applicable stakeholders and facilitated by the Project Support Officer.
  2. The analysis of each Risk and Issue. Each Risk is analyzed in terms of its impact and the probability of it happening. Each Issue is analyzed in terms of its impact on the Project if not taken care of and its urgency. I like to use a scale of 1 to 4 in both evaluations with 1 being low and 4 being high. Both numbers are multiplied and you come out with a single score for each Risk and Issue. I then pay particular attention to any Risks or Issues that score 8 or over.
  3. A discussion and agreement of what actions must be taken to mitigate the Risk and handle the Issue and by when the actions must be taken.
  4. Monitoring of the actions by the Project Support Office to ensure that the actions are taken.
  5. Reporting to the Project Manager and the Project Team on the Risk and Issues status for review at each Achievement Meeting.
  6. Continued identification, analysis, etc. of Risks and Issues during the life of the Project.
Assigning the Risk and Issues administration to the Project Support Office will be a big help to you and you can be assured that someone is focusing on the management of them.

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