The Risk Management Plan

Most of your project problems can be avoided or greatly reduced through risk management. The simple act of identifying and discussing risks goes a long way towards reducing problems in your project.

Let’s look at how to start the risk management process. Here are some questions that we should answer.

  • How will you identify risks?
  • Who will be involved?
  • How often will you perform risk management activities?
  • What tools and techniques will you use?
  • Who will own the project risks

How to Plan Your Risk Management From Start to Finish

Steven Covey introduced the concept of Quadrant II activities—working on things that are important but are not urgent. Planning is a powerful Quadrant II activity that can save you time and energy. Think about the future so you can make better decisions in the present. Let’s talk about how to plan your risk management from start to finish.

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First Things First

Some people think of risk management plans in the wrong way. Risk management plans are not a list of risks and what you plan to do (e.g. risk register). Rather the plan is your approach to risk management.

  • How do you plan to identify and evaluate risks?
  • How will you develop risk response plans?
  • How will you periodically review risks and your risk management processes?
  • What are your risk thresholds?
  • How will you escalate issues?

Here are four tips for creating your plan.

5 Things You Should Know About the PMI-RMP®

Every project has risks—events or conditions that, if they occur, have positive or negative effects on a project’s objectives.  And project managers are risk managers, some better than others. If you want to improve your project success through better risk management, consider getting certified as a Risk Management Professional. Here are some things you should know about the PMI-RMP.

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1. What is the PMI-RMP®?

The PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP) is a designation offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). This credential is for project management professionals who wish to demonstrate specialized knowledge and skills in project risk management.

How to Right-Size Your Risk Management Plan

One reason a project manager may have a bad reputation is bloated project plans. Too much sauce! While I’m a fan of planning, let’s use some common sense and right-size our risk management plans.

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Plans should vary in size, dependent on the size and scope of your projects. A risk management plan for the Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be much larger than a plan for a Southern Living Idea House.

Why is that some project managers have over or undersized risk management plans? First, individuals may be looking for shortcuts. They simply copy someone else’s plan and check a box. Second, others want to impress others with their knowledge by writing plans longer than The Grapes of Wrath.

Want to really make a good impression? Work with your team to develop a risk management plan that is fitting to your project, aids in decision making, and adds value. Document the plan but keep it practical and to-the-point.

So, how can we right-size our plans? Here are four steps to make it easier.

How to Respond to Difficult Presentation Questions

Improve your project presentation skills

Project managers often give presentations to groups such as senior leaders, boards, and third-party vendors. The truth is most people are afraid of public speaking. After all, we may make a mistake and be criticized. Let’s discuss how to respond to difficult and sometimes unexpected presentation questions. 

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8 Ways to Respond to Questions

Allow me to share a few tips that can help you to answer with greater ease:

How to Engage Participants in a Project Management Workshop

John, Sally, and Bill just left a full-day project management workshop. John said, “Am I the only one who felt like I just wasted a day?” Sally replied, “The trainer lost me in the first thirty minutes. At least, I caught up on my email during the day.”

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Are you responsible for project management workshops for a PMI Chapter, a Project Management Office (PMO), or your organization? Want to ensure that your participants get maximum value? Let’s talk about how to design workshops that are engaging. Project managers will leave your workshops excited about what they learned.

Whether you are the trainer or the VP of Programs for a PMI Chapter or something similar, here are some principles to help you design your workshops.

Seven Project Management Influencers to Watch

Up your game with new project management resources

If you had to pick a few people who are helping you grow and mature as a project manager, who would those people be? Perhaps these individuals are influencing you through a blog, online videos, online courses, or books. Grab a cup of coffee as I share seven influencers that I follow.

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1. Susanne Madsen

From the UK, Susanne Madsen is an internationally recognized project leadership coach, trainer, and consultant. She is the author of The Project Management Coaching Workbook and The Power of Project Leadership. Her focus is helping you become a confident leader, able to inspire, motivate, and deliver value.

In addition to her books, Susanne provides great articles on her website. She shares her knowledge through videos on her Susanne Madsen YouTube Channel. Susanne also actively shares her knowledge on Twitter @SusanneMadsen.

Five Bad Communication Habits to Avoid

When I teach project management, I often ask, “What are the top contributors to challenged or failed projects?” Without exception, I hear—poor communication. Project managers understand the importance. How can we improve? Let’s look at five bad communication habits to avoid and what to do about each.

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1. Communicating only once.

Busy Billy blasts an email containing the project charter to all his stakeholders. He quickly moves on to other project management tasks, relieved that he’s done his part in getting everyone on the same page. He never mentions it again.

This scenario reminds me of the husband who told his wife 30 years ago that he loved her. She hasn’t heard those words since. But he thinks he’s done his job. Spouses (and project stakeholders) need to hear things more than once.

How to improve: Plan your communication activities. For example, the project sponsor and project manager could review the project charter in the kick-off meeting. Bill could periodically review the charter with his project team to ensure that the team is aligned with the original intent of the project.

How to Unite Enterprise and Project Risk Management

Learn to Better Manage Enterprise Risks Through Project Risk Management

Many organizations have adopted enterprise risk management (ERM) as a way to make better decisions, get stronger operating results, and meet regulatory requirements. These same organizations may have program and project managers managing scores of projects. However, few organizations have yet to actually unite the enterprise and project risk management efforts.

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Consequently, efforts are disjointed, projects lack strategic alignment with the organizational objectives, and resources are not properly utilized. Unfortunately, these organizations are not realizing their full potential.

What is Enterprise Risk Management?

The Risk Management Society (RIMS) defines ERM as “a strategic business discipline that supports the achievement of an organization’s objectives by addressing the full spectrum of its risks and managing the combined impact of those risks as an interrelated risk portfolio.” Why is ERM important?

10 Simple Ways to Revitalize Your Project Meetings

Discover 10 ways to get more done in your meetings

How often do you hear someone say, “We’re having too many meetings, lasting too long, and they are woefully mismanaged.” And yet, meetings can be the indispensable tool for getting work done.  Let’s look at 10 ways to revitalize your project meetings and get more done.

revitalize your project meetings

10 Meeting Boosters

1. Meet somewhere new. One simple but effective way to reinvigorate your meetings is to meet in a new location. What about meeting at an external location or meeting outside on a nice day. Variety is the spice of life.

2. Meet at a different time. You have a recurring meeting where you’ve been meeting from 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. every Tuesday for the last year. How about moving the meeting to Tuesday morning from 8:30 – 9:30 a.m., schedules permitting, to leverage greater energy in the mornings.

3. Use a different facilitation technique. A bad habit is using the round robin every meeting. You start with the person on your left and you rotate from one person to another for updates. Use a different technique such as a whiteboard for example. Ask for the most significant limiting factors on your project and capture them on the whiteboard.

4. Rotate meeting roles. For meetings with ten or more people, I recommend that you assign meeting roles—facilitator, scribe, time-keeper, and gatekeeper, to name a few. Consider rotating the roles allowing different people to lead in different capacities. This gives everyone a greater appreciation for each role.

5. Invite someone new to the meeting. Perhaps you and the team have been trying to resolve a problem and you’ve met three times. Feeling stagnant? Invite another subject matter expert to provide a different perspective?

6. Undertake a team-building exercise. Wise leaders know how and when to inject team building exercises. Facilitate a problem-solving exercise, develop a work breakdown structure, or identify ways to improve project communication.

7. Develop or revive your ground rules. Perhaps your team has developed some bad habits—getting off track, showing up late, or reading emails on their smartphones. Ask your team to identify ground rules for future meetings that can drive better performance.

8. Do more planning and problem-solving. One big meeting problem is the lack of engagement. Participants are passive—brains are turned off. Rather than using meetings to report status, use the time to plan, to solve problems, and to innovate.

9. Stand up or walk for a meeting. Many agile teams perform daily stand-up meetings, fifteen minutes in length, to discuss: What did you do yesterday? What will you do today? Are there any impediments in your way? Rather than having a stand-up meeting, try a walking meeting (notify them in advance) where you discuss these questions.

10. Monitor energy levels. I’m not a fan of all-day meetings, but sometimes, they are necessary. Recognize that energy levels will likely diminish in the afternoon. What can you do to improve energy throughout the day? Provide good coffee and healthy snacks. Take a periodic stretch break. Break up into groups to discuss a topic or problem—have someone from each group share their group’s thoughts. Keep things moving.

It’s Your Turn To Revitalize Your Project Meetings

Good leaders shape their team cultures. Think about your teams. What changes would you like to see in their attitudes and behaviors? Implement one or two of the ideas in this article. Evaluate whether the team is getting more done. Never let your meetings get into a rut. Periodically, try something new!