Trawling for project risks

Successful project teams aggressively and systematically seek out and mitigate project risks, from the project inception phase through every phase transition including deployment. Along the way, new risks are surfaced, prioritized, tracked, and resolved. Each risk is prioritized by its probability, and its overall potential impact on the project. Good risk management increases productivity, quality, and ultimately user satisfaction. Review and mitigation methods vary on each project, but how are risks discovered? Here are some questions leaders and review authorities can ask:
  1. What are the top ten risks as determined by government, technical, and program management staff? When did you last check your top ten risks?
  2. How do you identify a risk?
  3. How do you resolve a risk?
  4. How much money and time do you have set aside for risk resolution?
  5. What risks would you classify as"show-stoppers,' and how did you derive them?
  6. How many risks are in the risk database? How recently did you update the database?
  7. How many risks have been added in the last month? Describe the most recent risk added to the database. When was it added? What was your mitigation plan for it?
  8. Can you name a risk that you had two months ago and describe what you did to mitigate it?
  9. What risks do you expect to mitigate or resolve in the next six months?
  10. Are risks assessed and prioritized in terms of their likelihood of occurrence and their potential impact on the project? Give an example.
  11. Are as many viewpoints as possible (in addition to the project team's) involved in the risk assessment process? Give an example.
  12. If you will not remain for the project's completion, what risks have been identified that will remain after you leave? Are any of them imminent? Will you leave a transition plan?
  13. Pick a risk and explain the risk mitigation plan for it.
  14. What is your top supportability risk?
  15. What percentage of risks impact the final delivery of the system? How did you arrive at that decision?
  16. To date, how many risks have you closed out?
  17. Who in this meeting/briefing is the Risk Officer? Is the role of Risk Officer his/her primary responsibility? If not, what percentage of the Officer's time is devoted to being the project's Risk Officer?
  18. What percentage of your risks have been identified by other than team stakeholders?
  19. How are identified risks given project visibility?

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