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How to Handle Risk Assessment Meeting

Introduction

The Risk assessment meeting is an crucial part of any project. Projects are launched to make the most of opportunities and with these opportunities come uncertainty and risk. The project risk management plan addresses the method behind risk management as well as the risk assessment meeting makes it possible for the project team to identify, categorize, prioritize, and mitigate or avoid these risks ahead of time. The team uses this meeting to establish the probability and impact of each risk, determine if the risk can/should be avoided by producing adjustments to the project, plan an proper response, and catalog risks and responses inside the Risk Register.

The risk assessment meeting needs to be a formal meeting conducted during the project’s planning procedure. It’s imperative that the project manager sends a meeting invitation and agenda to all attendees nicely ahead of time. This enables the meeting participants time to review what will be discussed and note any risks they could have already identified. At a minimum, the following ought to be invited to the risk assessment meeting:

Project Manager: acts as the chairperson and facilitates the meeting
Project Team: the project manager need to assign members of the project team the roles of recorder and timekeeper
Key Stakeholders: those identified that could bring value within the identification of project risks and/or mitigation and avoidance methods
Subject Matter Experts: those identified that could specialize in a particular project activity but are not formally assigned to the project but may add value
Project Sponsor: may possibly participate depending on the size and scope of the project

Despite the fact that meeting times could vary, 2 to 3 hours is really a very good estimate depending on the project size.

Risk Identification
Before the risk assessment meeting the project manager will have compiled a list of risks from previous projects. These will be reviewed at the beginning of the meeting as a way to not just identify some frequent risks but also as a catalyst to get the participants thinking about risks.

Even though there are lots of strategies for identifying risks, the Crawford Slip approach is really common and successful. For the Crawford Slip strategy, each and every participant is handed a set of sticky pads on which to write their risks. The project manager gives the participants 10 minutes to write as many risks as they can on the sticky pads. When the timekeeper indicates that 10 minutes have expired the project manager directs the participants to quit.

Each risk must be stated in a total sentence which states the trigger of the risk, the risk, along with the have an effect on that the risk has on the project (key words such as: “due to” or “because”). For instance:

Name:
Cause: Due to the fact the implementation team is unfamiliar with the organizations’ project management methodologies
Risk: time to implement organizations processes in the Project Management System could take longer than planned
Have an effect on: causing delay to the schedule.

 

Categorize and Group Duplicates (Affinity Diagram)
Categorization makes it easy to identify duplicate risks and acts as to trigger for determining extra risks. After the 10 minute risk identification physical exercise the project manager will facilitate the team in the categorization of each risk. One successful method for this would be to post the sticky notes on a significant section of the wall where the meeting chair has posted categories onto sticky papers. The participants then put their risks on the wall beneath the suitable category. As they identify duplicate risks they stick the duplicates on top of the other.

The project manager then discusses the risks identified under every category with the participants. As new risks are identified the meeting recorder writes them onto further sticky papers. Once complete the category it falls under will probably be noted for each risk.

Qualify Risks (Assign Probability and Impact to Each Risk)
On a significant section of wall space, the project manager will create an region to chart the risks according to probability and impact. Making use of sticky papers numbered from one to ten, the project manager will create a vertical axis for probability along with a horizontal axis for impact.

The participants will post the risks onto the wall in an approximate location where the most likely probability and impact for that risk intersect (subjective based on the person posting the risk). When all the risks are posted the team as a group will review the location of the risks on the chart and make any final adjustments. As soon as the location for all of the risks is determined the recorder will write the probability for each and every risk in the upper left corner of the sticky paper and the impact inside the upper right corner. The risks which are situated within the high probability and high impact location (upper right-most section of the chart) is going to be separated from the other risks for closer examination and planning. Only these risks having a high risk score will call for extra work.

 

Figure out Risk Response
For the risks which have been identified with a high risk score, the participants will figure out the triggers or causes and identify responses. Responses may consist of: adding the risk to the project program and scheduling for it; adding funding to the project (as a risk reserve) to mitigate any potential enhance in expenses, adding resources to the project (as reserve) to mitigate any possible shortage in assigned resources; developing a course of action for avoiding the risk; or accepting the risk.

Following the Meeting
Right after the meeting the Project Manager will enter all the risks, probability-impact scores, and responses into the risk register (note that only the high risk score risks have responses). The high scoring risks is going to be added to the Project Management Program. The Risk Register will also be included as an appendix to the Project Management Plan. Additionally, the risks with a high score will likely be added to the project schedule as a technique to track the risk at the right time. Despite the fact that these risks are added to the schedule, the schedule itself isn’t necessarily changed. This step is to offer awareness and visibility to the participants of all high scoring risks throughout the project’s lifecycle.

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