Early detection is the best method of prevention. This is as true for our health as it is for organizational risk management. An article by Kiron D. Bondale reminds us that, more often than not in the world or risk detection, once a risk it detected it may be beyond the point of being resolved. Early detection provides a host of benefits:
One advantage of identifying early detection signs is that this information can help to increase the level of awareness or vigilance across the project team – the downside of this is that it could result in some “false alarms” so it is advisable to be as specific as possible with symptom information. Inclusion of symptoms can also help to focus risk responses towards emergent or higher priority risks. Instead of making a regular review of the risk register a conceptual exercise, the team can use risk symptoms as a guide to diagnose the future “health” of the project.
Unfortunately, risk managers can have so many risks on their plate at one time that dealing with each successfully can be a daunting challenge. Prioritization is very important in early detection and in risk management as a whole. The example Bondale uses is a case of having a risk with high likelihood of occurrence and high impact to the project. If the risk is likely and impactful, but has no symptoms present whatsoever, Bondale advises addressing it through transferal or avoidance.
Warning allows more room for opportunities and improvement. Since we can all be very busy with daily tasks, opportunities can slip by unnoticed. As Bondale says, “by keeping an eye on early detection signs, stakeholders might bet better primed to fully exploit a realized opportunity.