As we discussed last time, the gathering of project risks cannot begin too early. The method for gathering the risks is not important, but, what is important is that a good cross section of the business and project team be incorporated in establishing and monitoring the project risks throughout the project. A team must be established that will meet regularly throughout the project to review and evaluate the list of risks to ensure the project is protected and prepared for all potential events.
I once was involved in a project for a corporation where acquisitions and divestitures were common activities. This presented a potential risk to the project which we identified and assigned to the business category.
The risk severity level was determined to be high since these activities could potentially have significant impact on the project schedule, scope and costs. We also evaluated the probability that an acquisition or divestiture would occur during the project as medium. The impact one of an event upon a project or project team must be identified and, wherever possible, quantified. Areas we considered to determine the impact of a divestiture or acquisition on the project included:
- additional systems to be converted
- additional data mapping or data cleansing required
- availability of core project team members essential to business support for these events
- potential schedule impacts of taking on new systems or data or removing current systems or data from the current project
- new business requirements resulting from the event
- costs of these additions to or subtractions from the project in the form of budget and resources
- would the event cause delays to the current project timeline
By addressing these items and more in the risk management plan, we were able to absorb the additional work required to support a divestiture that occurred during the project with minimal impact on the overall project plan. Some interim milestone dates were adjusted to account for resources required to support the divestiture, but the high level milestones remained intact and the overall budget was minimally impacted. The reason was the preparation by the business and project team for the possibility of this event taking place. Preparation and planning are the two elements that will assist any project team in preventing risks from derailing a project.