The word risk brings fear to the hearts of Project Managers and to the general population. Risk brings to mind bad things and negative responses, especially when you discuss risk in the broad sense as an “enterprise” rather than as a project or assignment. While a project risk can affect just one component , enterprise risk can and will affect multiple components and projects. So why should you be concerned about an enterprise risk if you are “just managing a project”.
When multiple projects are working to solve an enterprise issue, and if one the projects does not meet its objectives than the others will also fail. All projects in an organization are “in the same boat”, you all must be rowing together if one stops the boat cannot move as expected. Project managers at all levels need to be communicating either via PMO or among themselves. Too often I see project managers not communicating outside of their components/departments. While they are meeting the demands of their area, they have little regard to the big picture and where their project fits in the bottom line of the organization/ company.
You need to know the following on an ongoing basis:
- Where you fit in
- If someone is maybe doing a similar project and how you can share knowledge and even resources
- How your project is being perceived by the rest of the company and managers
- How you and your resources are being evaluated
- What are the risks other projects have identified (you may be one of them)
- How to mitigate the enterprise risk you may be creating
- If your resources are capable of understanding the risks in your project and how it may affect others
- The priority of all the projects in the organization and where your project fits in
- The cost/opportunity that your project serves for the organization and the risk of not meeting that objective.
There are many more that could be listed here but “you need to know that you need to find out what they are”
This “you need to know” theory is both project and enterprise risk management, the more you know the better you can manage the risks involved. Sounds simple but NO it’s very complex because you have to plan to find out what you need to know.
I question whether the whole Solyndra project would have received $500 million if everyone involved on the project would have practiced “you need to know” risk management. This is risk, communications, and management all rolled up into one. Not understanding this concept will only bring you, your project and the enterprise into the negative risk arena rather than focusing in on project delivery.
Positive risk management is managing risk throughout the organization, it takes all levels of the organization to be involved and not pushing down the reponsility of risk management to the lowest levels. Everyone in the organization must be involved if risk is to have a positive outcome. Everyone must have “you need to know”.
Your comments and suggestions are always welcomed.
Have a wonderful Holiday Season!!