Risk management

  • This guidance is about managing risk in a change management environment. The concepts and principles are the same as for general risk management practice. The pace, focus and how it is used are slightly different.

    Effective risk management is a fundamental element to any project management approach. Successful project management needs to both actively manage and consciously tolerate a mixture of uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. At Brookes we advocate a proactive approach to Risk Management for projects that is designed to provide the greatest support to smooth delivery during implementation phases.

  • The APM Project Risk Analysis and Management Guide (PRAM Guide) defines a risk as,

    “A risk event is an uncertain event or set of circumstances that, should it occur, will have an effect on achievement of one or more of the project’s objectives”

    The APM defines risk management as,

    “A process that allows individual risk events and overall risk to be understood and managed proactively, optimising success by minimising threats and maximising opportunities.”

    In the project environment Risk Management is focused on the threats and opportunities to delivery of the project outputs and outcomes.

    What is it that may help or hinder delivery of these on time, within budget and to the functional and quality standards agreed?

    By assessing this early in the life of the project the Project Manager achieves a number of things, all of which are critical to keeping the project on-track:

    • an early opportunity for people to flag concerns so that the PM can begin to manage both the risks and stakeholder concerns regarding them
    • getting the Project Team and Project Board to work together and to develop a shared understanding of the full risk picture
    • ensuring the Project Sponsor remains supportive of proceeding in light of the full risk picture
    • agreement on what the appropriate response will be enables a known plan to be put into operation calmly. No resorting to crisis management!
    • agreement on who will take any action needed now in response and any necessary adjustment to plans or resources
    • agreement on who can best support the Project Manager in the close monitoring of changes to the likelihood or probability of each risk
    • a framework for prompting and supporting horizon scanning as the project progresses through busy delivery phases