Risky Thoughts

A couple of days ago a colleague from our Audit Department approached me during a training and asked me a question regarding risk management:

“Is there any weight added to “high”, “medium” or “low” for the “impact” column (or “probability”, for that matter) in the risk log?”

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She mentioned that risk was something she was involved in more — in her present occupation, and she wanted to know, if there was anything quantitative below those values. I pointed her to m_o_r for starters — as an example of a more structured approach.

The simple answer to her question, however, was “no.” Without waiting a second thought, I added:

“I wish risk was identified -> estimated -> mitigation planned in the first place. It ends on theory level in many cases, yet any plan & business case without a [regularly reviewed] risk log to support our prognosis is a huge risk itself.”

When discussing the subject of risk, I often mention that our diligence as project managers most probably will depend on what the deliverable is. If this is a high risk project (e.g. an ascent of a high mountain or reaching the depths of the sea in a submarine) we will not treat the subject of risk light-heartedly.

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On a similar note, but not directly related to risk management and risk logs, it really is better to find a way to add more meaning to the standard “low”, “medium” and “high” or “A”, “B” and “C” — either by adding a legend with more tangible information or, say, switching to “must”, “should” or “could” (but perhaps not in the context of risk).

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