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An Attitude of Risk Management

Airplanes and Risk Management

In a recent article for Flying magazine, Mark Kenny read that pilots needed to adopt a risk management mindset when it came to the work they do. Reason being, simply, that once a plane takes off from the ground, pilots are perpetually faced with a series of challenges that are unpredictable and must be dealt with in a risk management fashion. Between the weather, fatigue, fuel quantity, and everything else, pilot’s training can only go so far before the importance of risks management comes into play. This led to Kenny thinking of project management:

Same thing with project managers.  When I started in project management in the 90’s, I remember focusing on things like building a schedule, the five phases of a project, and the triangle.  But risk management is a mindset that took a while to adopt.  What will prevent this project from delivering what the business needs?  Because once the project starts, everything is constantly changing.  The dynamics of the team, the needs of the business, the costs, the pressure from other projects to pull resources, the fatigue of the PM and the team, outside distractions, and other elements are constantly changing.  A project manager needs to be an excellent risk manager to keep ahead of what is happening, identify alternatives, and proactively make good decisions.

Have the Right Mindset

As Kenny goes on to say, some of the risks that project managers will face simply can’t be taught—sometimes good project management is simply having the right mindset in place before that risk comes up. Training new project managers should include, according to Kenny, an emphasis on thinking through risks management rather than depending on only a checklist or only a paragraph of text.

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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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