7 Ways to Further Reduce Project Uncertainty

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How can we reduce project uncertainty?

Previously, we have covered risk management topics directly for the Planning Process and the Monitoring and Control Process:

What about the other Process Groups? Let’s consider 7 other places to integrate risk management in the pursuit of achieving project objectives.

Initiation Process Group

1. Complete the Stakeholder Analysis. Identify individuals and groups impacted by the project. What are their interest and concerns? Which stakeholders have the greatest influence and interest? Understanding your stakeholders is foundational to managing risks.

2. Develop Project Charter.  Clearly defined goals are foundational to risk management. Fuzzy goals fuel fuzzy risk management. Work with your Project Sponsor, project team, and stakeholders to clarify goals. Identify threats and opportunities for each goal. Capture the highest risks in the Project Charter.

Planning Process Group

3. Collect Requirements. The Standish Group says the three biggest factors that lead to failed or challenged projects are:

  • Lack of user input
  • Incomplete requirements and specifications
  • Changing requirements and specifications

Invest in the elicitation, analysis, documentation, and validation of requirements and reap the benefits. Get appropriate stakeholders involved. Clarify and manage your requirements.

4. Complete a Work Breakdown Structure. Work with your project team to decompose the project into the work required for the project. The WBS allows your team and stakeholders to see all the work required. Use the WBS to drive risk discussions for the chunks of work.

5. Develop Project Schedule. As you develop the project schedule, determine risks for your detailed tasks, particularly for tasks on the critical path (i.e. the longest path through your schedule). Where appropriate, add schedule contingency reserves (i.e. additional hours) to address the uncertainties.

6. Develop Project Budget. As you develop the project budget, determine the budget contingency reserves for known risks and the management reserves for unknown risks.

Monitoring & Controlling Process Group | Closing Process Group

7. Conduct Lessons Learned. Lessons learned evaluations are typically performed in the Closing Process. Try conducting them throughout the project, particularly for large, complex projects. Learn as you go.

If your organization has a lessons learned repository, access the lessons for insights from other projects. Discover, discuss, and document lessons learned for your projects.

In the early part of your next project, define your Risk Management Plan. Use this blog post as a checklist for risk management activities. Apply what is fitting to your project.

Question: What other risk-related processes would you suggest PMs consider?