Risk Management Silos
By Nate St. John
March 24, 2021
While many planners and schedulers account for risk up front, they fail to perform iterative risk analysis during the execution phase of a project due to a belief that it’s too complex to integrate into daily activities. But what if I told you that in today’s world, ongoing risk analysis and mitigation don’t need to be complicated, and are no longer the exclusive terrain of high-priced consultants?
In this article, we’ll shatter the myth that iterative risk management is “just for the experts” and address ways that ongoing risk assessment can be simplified and integrated into daily work for better project performance.
The myth of the ‘expert’ class
When you consider the fact that a failure to adequately forecast and mitigate risk is responsible for a majority of project overruns and failures, it’s surprising that many planners and schedulers don’t do a better job of assessing risk iteratively throughout a project’s life cycle. While they usually account for risk up front during the pre-bid or tender phase, they typically fail to continue these activities through execution as events unfold.
But risk events, or the potential for them, occur throughout the life cycle of a project. Accordingly, risk analysis needs to be performed iteratively, and integrated into the daily activities of project professionals to the degree that it’s as routine and natural as providing a progress update for a schedule.
Part of the reason this doesn’t happen stems from the belief that comprehensive risk analysis is a complex academic pursuit that can be performed only by third-party experts — those high-priced consultants that swoop in and apply mysterious mathematical formulas that result in reliable risk calculations.
Unfortunately, this belief has detrimental impacts on project performance and deters team members from pursuing their own ongoing risk analyses due to the belief that it’s just too complex.
Democratizing risk management
What’s needed on an industry-wide level is the dissolving of silos that separate so-called risk experts from everyday project professionals tasked with managing risk — something that will level the playing field so that any size business can participate in risk mitigation activities just as easily and efficiently as big-budget large enterprises.
This is where today’s technology can provide a huge assist. Next-generation planning, scheduling and risk solutions such as InEight Schedule help democratize the risk management process, moving it from the domain of big-budget companies with pricey consultants to the masses.
For instance, perhaps today you don’t have the ability to keep a dedicated risk manager on staff. Instead, you create and manage a risk register in Excel and divide the monitoring and management of potential risk events amongst your team. While this holds some value, it makes it very difficult to project residual risk via mitigation into the next iterative planning or collaborative session, a critical step in accurate forecasting and awareness.
Tools such as InEight Schedule solve this problem through the inclusion of a centralized risk register, making it easy to incorporate risk analysis into an iterative planning approach. There is no longer a need to learn and calculate sophisticated formulas or bring in outside expertise. Instead, the technology performs the needed calculations using project data and institutional knowledge, which can then be vetted through team member expertise. The technology performs the calculations for you, so your user experience can be simple. This puts the power into the hands of the everyday planner, and frees you up to take on those more important tasks.
For more information on InEight’s full portfolio of integrated software solutions, or to schedule a free demo, visit InEight.com.