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How to Look Backward and Forward at Project Risks

Which direction do project managers need to look if they want to drive their team to success? Well, much like driving a car, a project manager needs to look both backward and forward so they have a clear view of the world around them. In a post for The Project Risk Coach, Harry Hall elaborates on why both directions are imperative.

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Project managers who are only looking to the past are missing out on the wealth of opportunities that may be coming up. Project managers who are only focused on moving forward fail to learn from their past mistakes. Neither situation is preferable, but if a project manager utilizes risk audits to look backwards and risk reviews to see forward, they can have a better handle on their projects.

Hall uses the hypothetical example of Tom. When Tom was asked to manage a project to implement an insurance company claims customer service center, he used a risk audit to discover any issues. There were four critical problems that were revealed: There was only one risk owner, there were two major risks that had not been responded to, the team missed an opportunity that could have saved the project $20,000, and the risk evaluation process needed revival.

Risk audits can be conducted by the project manager, the project manager and team, or a risk audit team. Audits help for people to understand how to do things like review the effectiveness of responding to the risks. Risk audits also help teams learn from their mistakes and see errors they may have missed, like the case with Tom. It helps teams progress forward in a positive, effective fashion.

Risk reviews aid teams to gain perspective and be forward-thinking. They assist the team to better take on opportunities. Risk reviews help the project manager or the project team to address elements like: Are there new risks, has the impact changed, or are residual risks increasing?

Project managers need to learn to look both backward and forward, or they will never gain a clear view of their project. You can read the original post here: http://projectriskcoach.com/2016/05/13/how-to-look-backward-and-forward-at-your-risks/

About Danielle Koehler

Danielle is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. She has degrees in English and human resource management from Shippensburg University.

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