Risks are distracting and derailing. Another way to classify risks though are anxieties. Risk management is the process of identifying future risks and documenting mitigation plans short term, medium, and long term so that everyone knows what to do if the risk happens. That’s said anxiety about risk can be derailing and often can pop up from anxious people especially while working in groups on long term projects. So, as mentioned risks can also be classified as anxieties so it’s important to prioritize the risk based on the impact severity and probability of the risk’s occurrence. Otherwise you waste time chasing and worrying about unrealistic risks. Also even though some risks might be highly probable some risks can have more of an impact than others. So determining who your key stakeholders are and the risks most important to them ensure that you focus correctly. Further defined the impact to the risk with the second and third order consequences if that risk is not managed properly. It’s best to have a system or at least a spreadsheet documenting these risks along with the other attributes to evaluate the risk. Risks can be identified in meetings or just when you’re sitting around not doing anything. Risks that are spinning around in your head are distracting and not useful. If risks are keeping you up at night then having those anxieties might become a risk Itself. Allocate sufficient time to listing out risks on a daily basis then dedicate specific time to defining a mitigation plan. A mitigation plan might involve several different stakeholders and resources. Identify and fix problems when they are small. If done properly in consistently then you may run out of risks and then life won’t get boring. However, there’s always externality that you can expand into that will continue to require medication. You don’t control everything you know.
Sometimes trying to document all the risks and resolutions at once is time consuming and some people are better at identifying issues and risks while others are better at fixing issues and defining mitigation plans. So people who complain a lot and are very negative fall into the category of ‘good at risk identification’ while people who are positive are usually fall into a category of ‘good at defining mitigation plans and solutions’. Therefore, consider allocating a meeting for risk identification where people who are good at risk identification can brainstorm and list risks. Then later setup a meeting with people who are good at defining solutions and mitigation plans to document resolutions to the risks identified. Before that though be sure to document the impact and prioritize the risk with key management stakeholders before figuring out which to focus on mitigating.
Risk Mitigation Process:
- Allocate a meeting or consistent time to brainstorm and document a list of all risks
- Document date identified
- Document probability of occurrence
- Document impact of risk with second and third order consequences
- Sort based on impact and probability of occurrence. This prioritization will determine the order that medication plans will be defined
- Define mitigation plan
- Define contingency plan if mitigation plan fails
- Continue to identify new risks with the team overtime
- Review risk register at each mile stone of a project and update risks as either result or continue to flush out risk definition impact and mitigation plan
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