How do you know when to respond to sneaky risks? Sometimes it’s obvious; other times you may experience a slow death march into ultimate ruin.
Part of our problem is unknown risks; these risks silently steal and kill over time. Even if we are aware of certain risks, we may be unsure of when to respond. Allow me to share a personal story to illustrate.
My Total Cholesterol Level was 240!! This was up from my previous level of 219 in 2014 and 196 in 2013. Not a good trend, huh?
For the first time, I crossed into a High-Risk Category (240-349). My doctor told me that if I did not turn this around that he would put me on a cholesterol medication. Do you know the side effects of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs?
They include inflammation of the muscles, memory problems, and autoimmune myopathy (I have no idea what this it, but the name gives me the hebbie jeebies). I had a friend a church tell me that you can have serious liver problems.
Seriously, I started changing my diet in small ways. I ate less red meat and more fruits and vegetables. I started using Vinaigrette Dressing instead of Ranch Dressing, one of the most unhealthy salad dressings. I ate fewer desserts such as cakes and cookies.
Two weeks ago, I had my blood work again. Last week, I went to see my doctor to get the low down. He looked me in the eye and said, “What have you been doing? Your cholesterol has dropped to 178!”
That’s the best news I’ve heard in a long time. Even my liver leaped with joy!
Why do I share this story? First, I hope to encourage you to take advantage of a healthcare program and improve your health habits. Second, consider the risk management principles that can be applied to your project habits. Here were some lessons learned:
So, think about it. How can we identify project risks, particularly if they are hidden and unknown? Here are a few techniques that can help:
How can we evaluate threats? We start with the simple qualitative risk analysis.
In some cases, you may need to perform quantitative risk analysis. Consider the Healthcare Risk Guidelines below, which allows an individual to determine the level of their cholesterol risk.
In projects, you may use predefined thresholds, amounts of risk that your organization is willing to accept. If the thresholds have not been established, you will need to define your risk thresholds, typically included in your risk management plan. Here are some examples:
Periodically review your risks to determine if the risk has breached a threshold. If so, execute your contingency and backup plans.