10 Common Risk Mistakes to Avoid - Part 1 - Converging 360
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10 Common Risk Mistakes to Avoid – Part 1

project risk10 Common Risk Mistakes to Avoid on Projects, Part One

Do you want to control your projects instead of having them control you? One of the main ways to do that is by strategically managing risk. But if you aren’t taking the right approach to risk management, you won’t be taking full advantage of what this technique has to offer, and you might even end up doing more harm than good. So, to help you along, we’ve compiled a list of 10 common risk mistakes that you should aim to avoid on every project.

To get started, and to help you improve your risk management strategy, here’s a list of five of the ten common risk management mistakes, along with Tricks of the Trade® on how to avoid them.

Mistake #1 — Starting Risk Management Without the Necessary Inputs

Outputs and information from your other project management activities serve as inputs to risk management. Without the necessary inputs, some risks will remain unidentified.

Tricks of the Trade®

First, gather the following inputs before beginning formal risk management:

  • Project background information
  • The project charter
  • Risk appetite
  • Risk threshold information
  • Historical records
  • Lessons learned
  • Risk management policies, procedures, and templates

You’ll also need project planning outputs, including:

  • The stakeholder register
  • Project scope statement
  • Project constraints and assumptions
  • WBS
  • Network diagram
  • Activity duration and cost estimates
  • The resource, communications, and procurement management plans

Mistake #2 — Not Tailoring Risk Management Activities to the Needs of the Project

Projects often fail because project managers don’t adjust their processes to the needs of the project.

Tricks of the Trade®

Consider the following when tailoring risk management activities:

  • When will the activities be done?
  • How much time will be spent on those activities?
  • Who will be involved?
  • What risk rating scales, forms, and processes will be used?

Mistake #3 — Not Identifying Enough Risks

Your list of risks (threats and opportunities) needs to be comprehensive. In fact, you should be able to identify hundreds of risks for your projects—not just 10 or 20.

Tricks of the Trade®

How do you know when you’re done identifying risks? The truth is that you pretty much do it until it gets ridiculous!

  • Create a list of risk categories to consider on each project.
  • Identify individual risks, as well as overall project risk.
  • Identify risks by work package and by activity.

Mistake #4 — Identifying Facts, Not Risks

Facts are not risks.Therefore, facts should be addressed in the project management plan, not as part of risk management.

Here’s an example. The following is a fact, not a risk: “We don’t have enough people or resources to complete the project by the required date.”

Tricks of the Trade®

Create a standard for what is a certainty and what is a risk.

To differentiate between facts and risks, bear in mind that: “Anything with less than an 80% probability of happening is a risk; greater than 80% is a fact.”

Mistake #5 — Forgetting Opportunities

Opportunities are positive risks, so they need to be included in risk management as well.

Tricks of the Trade®

  • Create a separate list of opportunities before creating a list of threats.
  • Provide the team with examples of opportunities.

Ready to Tackle the Next Five Mistakes?

That covers just half of our list of the most common mistakes made in the realm of risk management. When you’re ready to discover even more tips and tricks that you can use right away to become a more effective project manager, you can continue reading the next 5 Common Risk Mistakes to Avoid on Projects.

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