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I was wondering if this question has an answer that could help me.

What procedures do you follow to manage risk?

They don't have to be perfect answers, but something in couple of sentences so I could get an idea or guide me in the right path.

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To go about managing project risks:

1. Define you risk management approach/plan:

  • This is about defining what risks are (essentially a potential event that will have an impact on your project if it materializes): it's important that you and your team have a common understanding of what a risk is.
  • Use a risk management plan to define how risks will be managed throughout your project (method, tools, responsibilities, etc.): see this question.

2. Identify and track risks in a risk register:

  • Identify the risks currently known about your projects (you can do this with your team as a brainstorming exercise).
  • Log all risks into a risk register; this will be your ongoing working list of risks where you add and update risks. It should include information such as impact, likelihood, severity, owner, mitigation/action plan, etc. See this question.
  • Risk management is an on-going process, so you need to regularly review, update and act on your current risks list.

3. Communicate about risks:

  • From the project onset, make sure your team and stakeholders understand what project risks are, how they are identified and managed, and who is responsible for risk management (normally the PM is responsible for the process, although different risks might be owned by different people).
  • Include reporting on key risks as part of your regular project status report and make sure your stakeholders are informed when a critical risk arises or materializes.

You can also review the questions already asked by the community under tag "risk-management".

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Angeline outlines a good risk process approach. Simple and straight forward, which is what you want. I will add an approach that I use based on what I have observed when the risk process is actually practiced.

Many know how to talk a good risk game, i.e., be able to articulate why risk management is a good thing and what its value would be on any given project. However, in practice, there seems to be a reservation, denial, or complete avoidance on those things that constitute a threat to a project's well-being.

I can only speculate as to why this occurs. It might be a mix of optimism bias, something that is well documented in project managers and teams, with some kind of fear of exposing those things that could threaten your success--like if I expose this I will be replaced. It might be the type of personalities that are attracted to and excel in project management, the type A, everything's under control, failure is not an option personality. It might be the reaction of project sponsors, customers and PM bosses when a threat is raised, causing an intense amount of reporting and extra controls that do not really help.

So the individual(s) whom you assign to be your risk manager and coordinators need to be trained to hear the risks, their exposures, and actions during the normal course of work. When NOT asked 'what are your risks,' people freely let you know why they have trouble sleeping at night. When asked, people clam up and say all are good! So, a stealth approach in the identification of risks might be a good intervention if you are experiencing this, as well.

Also, another area of responsibility for the PM is to control to the degree possible the reaction of sponsors and customers when threats are raised. When someone does escalate a possible threat or an area of uncertainty, that has to be rewarded, not punished. Easier said than done, but a must nevertheless.

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In a nutshell, 5 steps:

1. Risk identification

Run a risk identification meeting with relevant people that can cover all aspects of the project (i.e. Technical, business, compliance, etc). Record all risks in a register.

2. Qualitative analysis

For each risk identified, you need to define the likelihood and impact (High, Medium, Low) and determine the ranking of each risk (likelihood x impact)

3. Risk response planning

For these risks assessed as high ranking, you need to document how you are going to respond to it, like, accept , transfer or mitigate the risk. If you're going to mitigate the risk, you need to define the actions/tasks/activities that need to be performed to reduce the impact/likelihood or even eliminate the risk. If you are in the project planning phase, make sure you consider these activities in your schedule, if not, add them to your actions register and refer to the originating risk.

4. Quantitative analysis

Based on the response planning and known impact, you can calculate how much time (and money) will be required to allocate as contingency in the case of the risk eventuation. This is what is called risk based contingency

5. Risk tracking/monitoring

In a weekly basis you walk through the risk register and confirm your qualitative analysis based on the execution of the risk response planning and more clarity about the project execution. You can update the impact/likelihood to reflect current reality and go back to steps 3 and 4. You should also enquire the team and stakeholders in a regular basis if they foresee any new risks, so that you're constantly preparing to properly react to risks. Keep in mind that a risk that eventuates is not a risk anymore but an issue and should be managed as such, risk closed in the register, issue raised in the register referring to the closed risk, and actions recorded in the register to bring the issue to closure.

There is much more, different ways, different levels of rigour based on project size and criticality.

The key message is that risks need to be managed and only recorded. This is a key project management discipline that directly impacts the success of the project.

Throughout my project management career I had the opportunity to take over several troubled projects and a pattern across all of them was poor risk management.

Cheers

TTKDroid

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