Promoting a Shared Vision of Success
Risk management can bring teams together in unexpected ways. On very basic projects, teams simply run down task lists until the project life cycle is complete. However, in difficult, visionary projects, risks can pop up from anywhere, at any time. Project managers might be too far removed from the front lines of work processes to identify some risks on their own. Likewise, team members who handle tactical details might not be privy to a company’s strategic shifts and broader defensive maneuvers. Keeping risk at bay requires an explicit understanding of what success looks like for a team, followed by a commitment to risk reporting and achieving that success together.
Anonymous Risk Reporting
Therefore, many team members find themselves conflicted when they encounter new risks bubbling up from within a team or from within a company. Calling out a fellow team member as a “risk” isn’t just tough–it’s almost impossible for most employees. Especially in organizations with strong, top-down managerial structures, identifying a colleague’s performance or motivation as a risk can be a career-limiting move.
Therefore, project managers, company stakeholders, and risk officers must collaborate on a secure method for team members to anonymously identify risks that might cause them personal or professional embarrassment. Teams that develop strong policies around accountability and privacy can use an anonymous reporting tool to avoid project mistakes and delays by focusing on performance instead of politics.
Leveraging Dependencies and Contingency Plans
Encouraging employees to report new risks and to take responsibility for identifying emerging risks can help teams adjust to the changing realities of a project. Skilled project managers can use reports from risk officers to inform their decisions about exercising contingency plans or changing dependencies within a project. For instance, if a particular risk has sidelined one group’s efforts, project managers can reshape assignments to minimize the impact. Likewise, a project manager may decide to fast-track elements of a project later in the cycle in order to swing more resources to minimizing a present risk.
This post is part of the series: Risk Management
Although companies use the phrase “risk management” to refer to numerous initiatives, project management professionals focus their efforts on predicting the events that might cause projects to fail. Appointing a risk officer, tracking risk, and reporting risk contribute to overall effectiveness.