- Posted August 5, 2014 by
Dyman Associates Risk Management on How to Develop a Risk Management Plan
1. Understand how Risk Management works. Risk is the effect (positive or negative) of an event or series of events that take place in one or several locations. It is computed from the probability of the event becoming an issue and the impact it would have (See Risk = Probability X Impact). Various factors should be identified in order to analyze risk, including:
Event: What could happen?
Probability: How likely is it to happen?
Impact: How bad will it be if it happens?
Mitigation: How can you reduce the Probability (and by how much)?
Contingency: How can you reduce the Impact (and by how much)?
Reduction = Mitigation X Contingency
Exposure = Risk – Reduction
2. Define your project. In this article, let's pretend you are responsible for a computer system that provides important (but not life-critical) information to some large population. The main computer on which this system resides is old and needs to be replaced. Your task is to develop a Risk Management Plan for the migration
3. Get input from others. Brainstorm on risks. Get several people together that are familiar with the project and ask for input on what could happen, how to help prevent it, and what to do if it does happen. Take a lot of notes! You will use the output of this very important session several times during the following steps. Try to keep an open mind about ideas.
4. Identify the consequences of each risk. From your brainstorming session, you gathered information about what would happen if risks materialized. Associate each risk with the consequences arrived at during that session. Be as specific as possible with each one. "Project Delay" is not as desirable as "Project will be delayed by 13 days."
5. Eliminate irrelevant issues. If you’re moving, for example, a car dealership’s computer system, then threats such as nuclear war, plague pandemic or killer asteroids are pretty much things that will disrupt the project. There’s nothing you can do to plan for them or to lessen the impact.
6. List all identified risk elements. You don’t need to put them in any order just yet. Just list them one-by-one.
7. Assign probability. For each risk element on your list, determine if the likelihood of it actually materializing is High, Medium or Low. If you absolutely have to use numbers, then figure Probability on a scale from 0.00 to 1.00. 0.01 to 0.33 = Low, 0.34 to 0.66 = Medium, 0.67 to 1.00 = High.
8. Assign impact. In general, assign Impact as High, Medium or Low based on some pre-established guidelines. If you absolutely have to use numbers, then figure Impact on a scale from 0.00 to 1.00 as follows: 0.01 to 0.33 = Low, 0.34 – 066 = Medium, 0.67 – 1.00 = High.
9. Determine risk for the element. Often, a table is used for this. If you have used the Low, Medium and High values for Probability and Impact, the top table is most useful. If you have used numeric values, you will need to consider a bit more complex rating system similar to the second table here. It is important to note that there is no universal formula for combining Probability and Impact; that will vary between people and projects.
10. Rank the risks. List all the elements you have identified from the highest risk to the lowest risk.
11. Compute the total risk: Here is where numbers will help you. In Table 6, you have 7 risks assigned as H, H, M, M, M, L, and L. This can translate to 0.8, 0.8, 0.5, 0.5, 0.5, 0.2 and 0.2, from Table 5. The average of the total risk is then 0.5 and this translates to Medium.
12. Develop mitigation strategies. Mitigation is designed to reduce the probability that a risk will materialize. Normally you will only do this for High and Medium elements. You might want to mitigate low risk items, but certainly address the other ones first. For example, if one of your risk elements is that there could be a delay in delivery of critical parts, you might mitigate the risk by ordering early in the project
13. Develop contingency plans. Contingency is designed to reduce the impact if a risk does materialize. Again, you will usually only develop contingencies for High and Medium elements.
14. Analyze the effectiveness of strategies. How much have you reduced the Probability and Impact?
15. Compute your effective risk. Now your 7 risks are M, M, M, L, L, L and L, which translate to 0.5, 0.5, 0.5, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2 and 0.2. This gives an average risk of 0.329.
16. Monitor your risks. Now that you know what your risks are, you need to determine how you’ll know if they materialize so you’ll know when and if you should put your contingencies in place. This is done by identifying Risk Cues. Do this for each one of your High and Medium risk elements.