Risk Management to Lead Project ManagementMuhammad Zeeshan Ali, PMP, PMI-ACP
Traditionally Project Management is about managing the project tasks but managing the scope is much deeper than that, both horizontally and vertically. As a Project Manager, I always believe that Risk Management is the most important Knowledge Area of Project Management. My point of view is endorsed by PMI as well in a manner that they have specialized certification, i.e., PMI-RMP. This fact highlights the globally recognized importance of Risk Management.
I always like to highlight the fact that if a Project Manager follows Risk Management religiously in his/her project, this will enable him/her to successfully lead the rest of the project areas. When Risk Management is leading the Project Management, the project becomes more focused on strategy rather than tasks.
Whenever a project fails, there was always some risk that was triggered. The cause of the failure is not the risk itself rather it is always due to the fact that the risk was not managed properly or was not managed at all. In most of the cases, the risk was never identified and thus went unattended. Risk Identification goes throughout the project with most focus at the beginning part of the project. aThe more risks you can identify and add to the Risk Register, the better situation a project is in.
If a Project Manager religiously conducts Risk Reviews and keeps the Risk Register updated, the Risk Management will automatically lead other Project Management activities. The simple reason is that when a risk is identified and analyzed, a strategy is aways devised and some responsible person is also assigned to cater that risk. This activity leads the strategy as the Project Manager will ensure to avoid risks and in case they are triggered, even in that case the strategy is clear and there are no surprises.
Another important aspect of Risk Management is that it helps in setting realistic expectations for all the stakeholders. All stakeholders are made aware about what can go wrong and that in case it does, then what will be affected and by how much it will be affected.
The importance of Risk Management is something that not only needs to be realized by the Project Manager but also should be embraced by the customer. This is the reason I often recommend my customers to conduct short training on Risk Management, in their organizations, so that they can get most of the projects.