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Assessing Risk: Seven Principles of Risk Management

When preparing for a project, and even throughout the project, a project manager needs to be aware of risk. Continuous risk assessment is a necessary skill for effective project management. Project management software can help in this area, as can a good project team. Carnegie Mellon University identifies seven principles of risk management that project managers should keep in mind as they work to keep their projects on track: global perspective, forward looking view, open communication, integrated management, continuous process, shared product vision, and teamwork.

Global perspective. Thinking with a global perspective from a project management standpoint is not necessarily about thinking world wide in the context of international countries (although it can be). Global perspective is a way of referring to looking at the big picture. Project management software can help you keep the big picture in mind by providing an easy way to look at schedules and look at the whole. While it is important to focus on the task at hand, one must also keep in mind how the current assignment will affect the project as a whole both now and further along.

Forward looking view. By anticipating tomorrow’s risks and problems today, a project manager is more equipped to deal with uncertainties. It is important to think about possible outcomes of the current task, as well as consider possible risks arising from a certain course of action. By looking ahead, a project team can anticipate possible scenarios and prepare for them, even as they are completing the current assignment or project phase.

Open communication. This is an important aspect that no project management software or training session can fully equip a project manager for. One must practice good communication skills to encourage discussion. Additionally, a value for individual knowledge and expertise should be part of the risk management plan. The environment should be such that team members are comfortable in communication their concerns informally and on the spot, without having to seek an appointment or feel intimidated.

Integrated management. Rather than viewing risk management as something separate from project management, risk assessment and management should be integrated as a natural function of project management. Likewise, methods of risk control should be taught to team members and the infrastructure of the project should include risk management methods and procedures.

Continuous process. Risks should not merely be addressed at the beginning of a project or project phase and then forgotten. Continuous risk management is an essential part of good project management and contributes to the team’s ability to handle problems as they arise.

Shared product vision. Shared vision requires that project team members share a common goal with the project manager. It requires ownership in the project and a concerted desire to make the project a success. Team members should focus on results and a positive outcome for the project.

Teamwork. Like shared vision, teamwork requires all team members to work together. It is about pooling resources, skills, and knowledge to assess risks and then mitigate them. It is group problem solving that encourages everyone to come together for the successful completion of the project.

Article by Remedysoft, Inc.
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