Project Management = Risk Management
Continuing from last week’s post, we are going to be diving into risk…headfirst as it may seem. And the head from my perspective is project management. I start with project management because in my mind, that’s the beginning. The current project you are working on may not be the beginning, but some project, at some point, was. Any typically, when it comes to risk, things probably started going wrong from some project that may not have been planned properly from the beginning, and now the company has taken on more risk than necessary.
Now as I said before, business is risk. There is no way to separate the two. If you know how, please call me. I’ve got a lot of work for you! So, when we talk about risk, we are really talking about managing it and mitigating it as much as possible. But first, you must know what your risk is before you can manage it! Don’t worry, I’m not going to go into depth about project management and all the different stages, but I would like to touch a few key areas to at least get the gears turning the next time you’re taking on a project, or working with someone on a project.
The first one seems obvious but let me tell you that it happens over and over again.
Know Your Key Players
Again, this may seem obvious, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a manager approach me and start by saying, oh yeah, we’re installing a new system tomorrow. Is there anything we need to know on the IT side? My answer is usually, “I don’t know, is there?” Of course, this is coming from the IT perspective, but we’ve all seen it before. Someone has spoken to a salesperson who has a shiny new system and convinces that person that they need this new thing. The salesperson couldn’t care less whether you speak to the right people to make sure deployment is a success, they just need to make that sale! Know upfront, who this system is going to affect, who is going to manage this system, and who are your stakeholders.
Find Your Pitfalls
Sometimes there’s risk inside of risk. Every project presents its own risk. Directly, the risk may not have an exact dollar amount to it. That may be the case as well, but sometimes risk that needs to be assessed in the project planning stage, is tied to unnecessary downtime or productivity issues. Those issues on the extreme side, can result in unnecessary cost with unused equipment, extra labor and billing.
Objectives and Deliverables: Making sure that the expected results is clear
What is your end goal? If your answer is only to have a new system installed, you should be scared. There should be an expectation from whomever is running the project that there will be some tangible expectations to meet when the project is completed. Or else, there may never be an end! I’ve seen project slither on for months after the new system was in use, because there were no objectives and specific deliverables.
Access, permissions and key data and IP
So, you have a new system that users use and probably save data. This is where mismanaged projects can move from the project risk mentioned previously, to risk that now has a dollar amount attached to it. It’s best to think of access, permissions and what will be the key data in the planning stage. Once the system is rolled out, users are going to create their own way of using the system. These decisions if not pre-planned, may not be ideal for the business. Figure out from the beginning:
- Who needs access to the system?
- Are there different levels of access, and who needs what access to do their job….and ONLY their job?
- What type of data is this system going to create, where is it going to go, and how will we get it back if the system crashes? What is the most important data that will be needed to get it back up and going again?
These questions will also lead you to know how this system needs to be protected. Some systems may only need the individual saved files users create to be backed up. Others are more complicated like databases. The best solution may be to backup the entire system so that it can be restored as a whole system.
Projects can be small, or very large, but all can add to your level of risk if not planned properly. I would recommend having someone who is trained in running projects for the more complex implementations. A good project manage can make all the difference, and often pay for themselves when run correctly. Until next time, project on!