Anticipating problems: Risk management

Some people expect the unexpected...
and some people try to ensure the unexpected never happens

Life is full of uncertainty

The journey of a thousand miles must begin with wondering if you turned off the iron (William Rotlser)

The "unlucky" manager

Marge Fingers was terribly unlucky. Her projects often came in late for reasons beyond her control. The unexpected always struck Marge first. At crucial times, a key member of her staff would leave her high and dry; or a supplier would reveal they couldn't deliver on time; or her team had produced poor quality work and had to spend time correcting it

Lucy Murphy was lucky in all she did. Her projects never went off the rails. When key staff left she could always find someone to take over; if things were delayed she could always find an alternative, or contingency to cover it; Lucy's team rarely let her down

"Lucky" Lucy got promoted. Moral: Manage your risks

Life isn't fair

.... but let's look again at the above stories

Marge Fingers' projects often came in late because she never planned for problems.
A key member of her staff would leave her high and dry, and she hadn't trained anyone else up to cover.
A supplier would reveal they couldn't deliver on time, because she hadn't checked on their capabilities and hadn't ensured a tight enough contract.
Her team had produced poor quality work because she hadn't introduced tight enough quality controls


Risk management

Risk management (RM) comprises:

RM is important for:

Risk management

Thought for the week

If at first you don't succeed...
don't take any more stupid chances
There's no point in being a damn fool!


Relevance

In a survey by Coopers & Lybrand (Moules, 1996), respondents cited three factors contributing to project failures:

"You only have to miss one risk to ruin an otherwise successful project"
Laurence Holt, quoted in Warren, 1996

Question: Is it reasonable to expect people to manage all risks?
 


Three ways of thinking about risk

Quantitative risk

Socially constructed risk

Qualitative risk


UpOther topics Comments please to: dwfarthi@glam.ac.uk © 1999, University of Glamorgan