Four Ways To Discover Risks In Your Next Project

When performing risk analysis, some companies have pre-existing ways to catpure risks. If that’s the case and if those existing risk capturing methods are working, then follow them and figure out methods for improving them. If not, then there are at least four ways to discover risks [1]. They are:

1. Schedule Based: In this approach a large print of the schedule is developed—at least 3 feet wide and scaled to the required height. Risk meeting participants add their risks to the schedule using sticky notes. The sticky note density shows where the team thinks the highest risk lies.
2. Development Process Based: On this approach, the risk meeting participants follow a similar procedure to the Schedule Based, except that the large print is of the company product development process. In general, this requires a graphical representation of the company’s development process. If this does not exist, then it must be created or this method is not used.
3. Success-Thwarting Based: This approach is based upon the definition of risk which is “the possibility that an undesired outcome disrupts your project.” [2] This approach starts with each participant in the meeting identifying of 5 things that would indicate success of the project. Add to the list as necessary and then post the list in large format for all to see. Then go through each item and ask the participants what could go wrong to interfere with the attainment of the desired outcomes.
4. Prompt-List Based: This method is based on a history of completed projects. Review each of the projects looking for areas were mistakes keep being made. One benefit of this list is that it can be used on future projects to identify risks.

These are practical suggestions for identifying risks to a project. Another method is to use the 5W’s which is dicussed in this blog post.

[1] Smith, Merritt, Proactive Risk Management, (New York, NY: Productivity Press, 2002), p. 49-54.
[2] Smith, Merritt, Proactive Risk Management, (New York, NY: Productivity Press, 2002), p. 49-52.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *