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Is risk management failing to ‘see the forest for the trees’?

24th Jan 22

Topics: Safran Risk Manager

Risk management professionals today have sophisticated analytical tools at their fingertips to provide a detailed view of the risks faced by a project. Yet despite this, many projects continue to finish late, over budget, below expectations or any combination of these deficiencies. 

Risk professionals are trained to analyze what might go wrong and then make sure the chances of disaster happening are mitigated to be manageable. So why are project delays, cost overruns or other failures so common?  

Your preferred search engine will quickly find the answers are often a combination of people, processes and communications, and this information has been shared by industry bodies for decades. Another oft-cited reason for project failure is ‘complexity’ 

Projects that are completed successfully on time and on budget do happen, so we know it is possible, just not as common as we would all like. 

So, from our experience, here is a list of new year’s resolutions that risk managers should do well to consider and adopt for 2022. And of course, when setting a new year's resolution, or any resolution for that matter, it is useful to use the SMART approach: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely... 

  1. Have more action-orientated conversations 
    Being constrained to a risk management process by a risk management software package is both limiting and ineffective. So we advise turning off the laptop and going and speaking to people in the project team regularly to ensure they are thinking about actual risk and action plans and not just about feeding a tool or process. All conversations should be action orientated.  
  2. Bin the spreadsheet
    Spreadsheets are great for general purposes but cause problems when trying to improve specific processes – the solution should be the use of a dedicated application designed for the specific process being implemented. With so many solutions on the market, the challenge is finding the right one. We advise that you consider both your current and your anticipated future maturity levels to ensure you are not overwhelmed by the product at the start or need to find a better one once you have mastered it. Price is also critical, so set a budget and determine your return on investment, factoring in the configuration time and user learning curve. Tools like Safran Risk Manager are ready to use with minimal configuration and are easy to learn with minimal training costs. 
  3. Bring your Risk Management Plan to life 
    Risk Management Plans (RMPs) should be the everyday manual and an evolving instruction set on how to achieve project success.  Instead, many are created at the start of a project as a tick box exercise and never see the light of day again. Remember, no plan survives the first engagement, and neither does the RMP.  It needs to be reviewed regularly as circumstances and the environment change, and updated to better reflect the current and next phase of the project.  Updates should occur during every phase. 

Safran Risk Manager helps organizations to take a holistic approach to risk management with our centralized risk register. It allows project controls professionals to work more collaboratively, so you can monitor every stage of your projects with confidence. 

For more information on how Safran Risk Manager can help your project risk management in 2022, visit the Safran website, or contact us to schedule a learning session. 

Watch our four part mini training series on Safran Risk and discover the power of integrated cost and schedule risk analysis.