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The Risks of Risk Management

flinching helmetThis article from Strategic PPM cites the findings of economist Sam Peltzman who found that risk management policies can greatly affect the amount of risks people are willing to take. For example: people who wear seat belts generally drive faster and get in more accidents (fortunately, since they are restrained, they generally fair better in the accidents as well). So how does this apply to your next project? Consider for a moment what risky activities your willing to take on because you have a risk management plan:

So the question for the project manager is are your risk management policies changing  behavior? This is not to say you shouldn't bother with risk management, just as with seat belts the overall benefit is likely to be positive, but pay attention to how behavior is changing as a result of the changes you implement. Are people less cautious knowing there is a more robust monitoring process in place for their projects? Are team members less focused on escalating problems knowing that someone else is watching out for them?

This is not to say that you shouldn't take any risks at all-but do consider whether you and your team is taking a risk based off of possible reward or simply because there is a net beneath you. By recognizing the difference, you can eliminate or minimize risks that have little to no benefit while making sure your risk management process is used for those risks that are otherwise unavoidable.

About Matthew Kabik

Matthew Kabik is the former Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He worked at Computer Aid, Inc. from 2008 to 2014 in the Harrisburg offices, where he was a copywriter, swordsman, social media consultant, and trainer before moving into editorial.

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