Have you ever worked on a project that was risk or issue free? Lucky you, if you did! However, that is not often the case. Any project exists to bring some type of a change and with that change comes uncertainty – which means that risks or issues can arise and will need to be appropriately addressed. Risk avoidance is not an option. Instead, the focus has to be on managing risks.
Let’s start by defining ‘risk’ and ‘issue.’ It’s important to differentiate between these two terms as they are often mistaken for the same thing and used interchangeably.
Risk: an uncertain event that may or may not happen and can still be prevented
Issue: an event that already happened and now needs to be fixed
The goal is to manage risks effectively so they don’t turn into issues. If they do turn into issues, that will distract your project team, and likely consume more time and money.
To help you manage project risks more effectively, you need to be able to pinpoint the following information:
- How do you know what your risks are? You can create an issue log manually, build your own spreadsheet, or buy a management software – it doesn’t matter what you use, but keep in mind that the key to successful issue tracking is the information you track!
- Name and Description: Provide information about what happened and the potential impact.
- Timing: When was it identified?
- Priority: Which risk do we need to address first? Most often companies assign each risk a probability and an impact score. This will be important because you need to know which risks to work on first.
- Owner: Many people think that the Project Manager owns all of the risks, but that’s not necessarily true. Project Managers help to manage risk but it’s actually a great opportunity to open communication with project stakeholders and manage this as a team effort.
- Status: Track the progress of the resolution with a clear label (Open, in Process, Escalated, Resolved, etc.)
- Plan of Action: How are you planning to mitigate the issue?
- Target Resolution Date: Determine the deadline for resolving the issue.
It’s important to establish a process of identifying and documenting issues and risks that your organization buys into. An organized approach provides many valuable insights to use during the project as well as to refine and improve any future project results.
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Happy Dynamic 365’ing!