Shooting the Messenger

Often, the process of risk management is perceived as negative and, in fact, it does focus on what can go wrong rather than what can go right. However, it is important for you and your project sponsor to realize that proactive reduction of risk before the project starts is more effective and less expensive than reactive reduction of risk impact during the project.

We have found that in many companies, there is a tendency to see the process of risk assessment, risk memorandums, and so on as "wimpy" and "butt-covering." Although we find this attitude unbelievable and unprofessional, in the macho, go for it, cracking-an-all-nighter culture of many companies, we can certainly see why such a view exists.

In our workshops, we use the example of Indiana Jones running down numerous tunnels, ducking the horrible things that spring out of walls, leaping over pits, and mixing with spiders, snakes , rats, and so on as the exemplar of the project hero. However, we also make the point that in Indy's projects, his team often ends up impaled, the precious artifact he went into the tunnel after is either lost or stolen by his enemies, and, most important, the most interesting archeological find ”the tunnel itself ”is destroyed . As we discussed in the last chapter, in the real world, these projects fail. It's just in the movies that they work.

Don't be an Indiana Jones. Analyze your risks before going into your project, take some protection with you, and have a "beam me up" mechanism. You owe it to your team, your stakeholders, and your company.

The P Files Episode 9: Indiana Jones Is a Wuss

We had been contracted to assist an organization in managing a huge $1 billion project. We were meeting the elite project managers whom the company had assigned to the project. Throughout the meeting, all eyes kept turning to Clint (the alpha manager of the mob) to see how he was reacting to what we were saying. He wasn't happy. Finally, he couldn't hold it in and he burst out, "Look, you fancy consultants might know a lot about managing projects. But, in this organization, we know a lot about surviving them!!!" Everyone cheered.

The P Files Team Comment

Clint's reaction reflects a common view about project risk management. It has been said to us many times by hard-nosed senior managers that they pay project managers to deal with risk. Why should the senior managers bother with risk management? This is a serious issue for you and you must be firm in engaging executives to assist you in managing the risks in your project. Remember, a great project manager knows when to ask for assistance.

Case Study ”Analyze Risk

You explain the concept of risk to Edwina and the RAP participants and together you complete the following risk assessment:


You review the high risk factors and complete the risk memorandums.


The contingency plan causes some debate in the RAP session.

Radical Project Management
Radical Project Management
ISBN: 0130094862
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2002
Pages: 136
Authors: Rob Thomsett

Similar book on Amazon © 2008-2017.
If you may any questions please contact us: