“Jack, we’ve allocated five days in the plan for you to review each of the major deliverables,” Alice, the Sr Project Manager, explained to the Executive VP (HR), during the schedule review. “If you can complete those reviews and provide signoff within three days, we have the opportunity to knock two weeks off the schedule. However, if you take longer, that will push out the Go Live date.”
With this post, we reach the midpoint of The Project Manager’s Cycle where this action and the next few actions are deceptively easy to describe, but are considerably more complex to practice. As a reminder, this series describes the Monitor and Control activities that the project manager repeats each project reporting cycle.
Project Risk Management is, of course, a process documented in A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBoK) and includes the Monitor and Control Risks activity. The activity I’m describing in this post is similar to the PMBoK equivalent. At its simplest, this activity assumes risk identific-ation, quantific-ation, prioritize-ation, and mitigatin-ation have been done and all you do is “process” the risk mitigations assigned to you on the risk register and follow up with others to make sure they are “processing” the risk mitigations assigned to them.
But as someone I admire would say, that’s not “the way of the project manager.” It’s certainly not all that is required for a best practice. For example, as you review the risk mitigation actions assigned to you and you get others to review the actions assigned to them, you naturally reassess the risk itself and the risk response; if anything has changed (assumptions, probability, or impact, for example), then you transition into risk analysis or risk response planning. Further, processing the risk response actions works best as a team exercise, and a superior project manager will involve all appropriate stakeholders in the activity.
If risk response is required, take appropriate action. For a seasoned project manager, this means delegating any product work. Also follow up with everyone else who has a risk response action assigned to them. Verify their action plan, determine status and issues affecting their risk response, and gently nudge them if necessary.
If there is an effect on the project, then consider use of contingency reserves (risk buffers), escalation, or project change management.
Have I left anything out? What else is in your cycle of weekly activities for reviewing risks and risk responses?