Minimize Your Risk Exposure By Moving Faster

Risk. Many project managers spend a lot of time identifying and mitigating risks. Is it worth the effort?

First, some background.

Risk management revolves around identifying vulnerabilities. Once you know how and where you are vulnerable, you can assess the probability and the impact of each vulnerability — the level of risk.

Here are a few examples of vulnerabilities (this is far from a complete list):

  • Lack of a clear project vision
  • Insufficient level of detail in approved documents
  • Lack of participation by primary audience
  • Slow issue resolution
  • Environment and/or tools insufficiency
  • Poor staff teamwork
  • Technology changes

Once you identify a vulnerability, there are four things you can do:

  1. Accept it because the rewards outweigh the drawbacks (that is, do nothing about it).
  2. Avoid it because the downside is too dangerous (redirect the team as needed).
  3. Transfer it to an insurance firm or an outside supplier who is willing to cover potential losses.
  4. Mitigate it to reduce your exposure, reduce the potential impact, and balance cost against loss potential.

Sound like a lot of work? It can be depending upon the situation and the context. Want to avoid spending all that time on risk management? Move faster. The biggest vulnerability you face is likely to be time. The more time you spend waiting for the stars to align for your project, the greater the risks you face.

Documentation becomes outdated. Stakeholders lose interest. Issues pile up. Tools fall behind. The staff gets frustrated.

Competitors are everywhere and their numbers keep mounting. The pace of innovation is accelerating. Is the pace of your software development keeping up? If not, shake things up. Consider an agile development approach such as Scrum, Kanban, XP or Lean.

You don’t need to be out in front of the technology wave. You just need to keep up.

Updated: August 13, 2011 — 9:13 pm