Typical Problems

As with any project management process, there are always challenges and things to be on the lookout for. Let's first review the four general problems that are typical with managing project risk:

  • Undetected risks These are the risks that will get you, because you didn't even see them coming. The most common reasons for this are project managers not having the proper risk management mindset, project team members not raising awareness to specific risk factors, and planning defects that are not detected.
  • Unacknowledged risks This occurs in dysfunctional organizations or in immature project management organizations. For whatever reason, often political in nature, an obvious risk factor is not formally acknowledged, and as a result properly managed. This is the proverbial "elephant sitting in the middle of the living room." A common example of this is an impossible schedule deadline.
  • Not enough process It is not uncommon to see this area of project management totally ignored, at least from a systematic standpoint.
  • Too much process On the other end of the spectrum, I have often seen gung-ho, analytical project managers over-do the risk management process. They can spend so much time here that planning is never completed, or they get so focused on risks that they become so cautious and won't take on any chances. Rememberproject risk management is not about "avoiding" all risks.


In some cases, organizations knowingly accept the risk of abbreviating the project definition and planning steps to meet other objectives.

In addition to the major problems typically found, there are a number of other smaller issues that are common to the risk management process we discussed earlier. Table 14.5 summarizes those common gaps.

Table 14.5. Summary of Common Risk Management Gaps

Risk Management Process

Common Gaps

Risk Management Planning

No risk management plan.

Risk management plan equals risk response plan.

Risk Identification

Performed only once and not proactively managed.

Process is incomplete.

Missing entire types/categories of risk.

Confusing issues with risks.

Risk Qualitative Analysis

The organization has not established standard practices/tools.

The probability of occurrence is not calculated for each risk.

The impact of each risk is not determined.

Risks are not prioritized.

Risk Quantitative Analysis is not limited to high-priority risks.

Risk Response Planning

Response strategies are not documented.

No risk response plan.

Response strategies are not appropriate for risk severity.

The project plan is not updated to implement and monitor responses.

Risk Monitoring and Control

The risk response plan is not maintained.

Risk identification is not continued.

The project plan is not updated to implement and monitor responses.

Responses are not reevaluated.

Progress is not tracked, or task owners are not held accountable.

Part i. Project Management Jumpstart

Project Management Overview

The Project Manager

Essential Elements for any Successful Project

Part ii. Project Planning

Defining a Project

Planning a Project

Developing the Work Breakdown Structure

Estimating the Work

Developing the Project Schedule

Determining the Project Budget

Part iii. Project Control

Controlling a Project

Managing Project Changes

Managing Project Deliverables

Managing Project Issues

Managing Project Risks

Managing Project Quality

Part iv. Project Execution

Leading a Project

Managing Project Communications

Managing Expectations

Keys to Better Project Team Performance

Managing Differences

Managing Vendors

Ending a Project

Absolute Beginner[ap]s Guide to Project Management
Absolute Beginner[ap]s Guide to Project Management
ISBN: 078973821X
Year: 2006
Pages: 169

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