Did you carry out your risk assessment Ron?

OK, I got it wrong!! I admit it to you and I admitted it to the group. It just shows you that you have to be alert during projects 100% of the time. If not the impact….??

Let me set the scene.

• A full project management training course

• Lots of activities

• Lots of flipcharts

• A really engaged group who said they were really gaining knowledge and skills of project management

At the end of the first day of two, I tidied up and left the room with all the flipcharts on the wall and left.

You’ve guessed of course! On my return at 8-30 the next morning the room was pristine; no flipcharts at all on the walls, none on the flipchart stand:

• personal objectives – GONE

• answers to the case studies – GONE

• their key project management problems – GONE

Staff tried to find the flipcharts – they had been thrown away.

So, I started the day with an apology – a BIG apology. I said it was my fault for assuming all the flipcharts would be in the room on my return. After my apology I asked the group a question: how could I have prevented this from happening?

“Include it in your risk assessment!”

Absolutely right! I turn up at least an hour early; I haul every conceivable implement to courses known to trainers pens, adhesive, pen knife, paper…….all based on a risk assessment.

I had assumed that everything would be left as it was. I was wrong. It did impact on the project management course however I was able to rescue it by linking into the introduction to day 2.

So, what’s the question?

Have you made some assumptions in your projects? If yes, test them out and maybe, just maybe you will not have to spend time getting yourself out of a hole as I did!

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6 Responses to Did you carry out your risk assessment Ron?

  1. Pam Stanton says:

    Ron, a great post and a real-world reminder of the importance of assessing risk. Thanks for being willing to share your “oops” moment as a cautionary lesson. I now have renewed vigor to keep carrying that extra bulb for the projector :)

  2. Ron, thanks for sharing! This is a great reminder to rethink our assessments and weed out any assumptions. Sometimes it’s the assumptions that we don’t even know we are making that can really mess us up.

    • Ron Rosenhead says:

      Weeding out assumptions is so important and the experince allowed us to review a lot of our customer facing proceses. We now have a good checklist process part of which is going to be used today! So, out of the issue came something positive.

      Thanks for the comment Kathryn.

  3. Ron – Perhaps at the end of day 1 you could take photographs on your phone of all the flip charts. Then if they do disappear between day 1 and day 2, at least you can refer back to what they said…

  4. Gladstone says:

    Well… Ron according to me has captured the heart and soul of project management? Risk management is one of my pet topics and I had realized over the years the siginifnace of managing risks in projects. On the contrary based on my limited experience and interactions I reckon this topic is buried under the carpet for many reasons. There is a cultural perspective to risk management as well. For example in the subcontinent we are hesitant to escalated risks early thinking that it will offend the other side. When the situation goes beyond control then at the 11th hour the floodgates are opened creating chaos and slim chances for taking corrective actions. I believe that that onus for risk management is not limited to the project manager. Every project team member is accountable to recording and mitigating risks during the different phases of execution. Another issue that needs to be considered is “assumptions”. Many a time there are myriad possibilities of things goes wrong discussed. However the cardinal rule is to validate the assumptions and constraints at periodic intervals.

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