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Something Risky this Way Comes

As a PM, CIO, or executive manager, you might say to yourself, “I don’t take unnecessary risks.” But one should always keep in mind that for every business wish there will be a price. For every project desire there will be a cost! This Halloween season, one should beware of the hungry issues that are drawn to IT projects like dogs. The horrors of project mismanagement and IT risk await those without the courage to recognize the role expectations play in determining risk. 

It was a Normal IT Project…

It was the typical IT project. Management had delegated roles and tasks to all staff members. An executive team developed parameters to control for project scope, factored the necessary expenses and contingencies into the budget, planned checkpoints, and even created a comprehensive risk registry in Excel. But the team was not prepared for what happened next.

Risks from Beyond

A project threat can come from the least expected places, even from outside the project itself. Consider that some projects may be affected by political conditions, whether at home or abroad. Never assume that your project is an island. Stay tuned to the news and to trends in business, politics, and society.

IT in the Shadows

Sometimes the threat is from unsanctioned IT. Many IT outfits assume they are in charge of technology use, but with the rise of BYOD and now Internet of Things (IoT) devices, it pays to be on guard for unmonitored usage or applications that pose a threat due to network strain, harboring of viruses, and incompatibility issues.

Project Zombies & Employee Snatchers

Of course, employees can often be a major source of risk. The best defense is to keep your staff happy, healthy, and productive. If you sense that a particularly unmotivated individual is dragging down the project (i.e. – a project zombie), you may want to give them a new role, transfer them to a different department, or if necessary let them go. Additionally, expect at least one team member to have a major life event snatch them away from the project (like having a baby).

One can’t always avoid the risky situations, especially when they are unexpected and inexplicable–outside the realm of predictability. But when the hour of reckoning is upon your team or department, keep a cool head and a steady hand. Most importantly, remember that it is your outfit's expectations that will bring about certain types of risk. For every business wish, there will be a price!

About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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