All projects always have levels of uncertainty about the activity to be performed and the product to be delivered, are risks that must be managed.
This article explores 5 questions and answers on the identification of risks in a project, including who should participate, when it should be done, when it ends (or rather does not end) identifying risks, the importance of creativity, thinking Innovator, tools and techniques for the identification of the risks. The true value of a risk plan is not in the calculation of monetary value, but in the identification of all risks and in the definition of response plans. Identifying risks in a project is not just about tools and techniques, creativity, innovative thinking and participation of all team members play an important role.
We present below 5 questions and answers on the identification of risks:
1. Who should participate?
Risk identification is an exercise in which key stakeholders from all technical areas involved in a project must participate, specifically:
- The Sponsor of the Project.
- Manager / Project Manager.
- Team members.
- Representatives of the client or business area requesting the project.
- End users of the product or its representatives (not necessarily the same customer).
- Technical experts external to the project.
- Other sponsors and managers of similar projects.
- Others involved in the project.
- Experts from the project management office or risk management unit.
2. When should it be done?
The first and largest risk identification effort should be made during the planning phase of the project, before compromising the project’s final schedule and budget.
3. Is the identification of risks only in the planning phase?
No, risk identification must be continuous throughout the project, not conclude with the planning phase. Once project implementation begins, the risk record should be periodically reviewed to determine if they remain in place or if there are new risks. If new risks are identified or some change in impact level, corrections should be made to the project plans in the areas of scope, schedule, budget, quality, communications, etc. For example, if at the beginning of the project we had set aside a certain amount of time to cover a risk and during the execution, and then determined that the risk would not occur (it has a low probability), we could eliminate the slack and finish before the date. Another example, if we identify a new risk on product quality, we might evaluate to include additional evidence in the quality plan, which would in turn imply changes in scope, schedule, and budget definitions.
4. How do creativity and innovative thinking influence the identification of risks?
Creativity and innovative thinking play a key role, encouraging Project Managers and team members to actually engage in risk identification, allowing a greater field on which to perform analysis and response planning. It is necessary to motivate and even reward team members who openly pose risky situations and show interest in identifying all areas where possible failures may occur. When the identification of risks is involved, the more creative it is, the less exposed will be to uncertainty in achieving the objectives.
5. What are the tools and techniques to use in identifying the risks?
The risk register
At the outset, it is important to have an instrument that serves to record the risks to be documented in the project.