Mitigating risk to an acceptable level during the course of a project will lead to a successful project. What it means is to be aware of the potential risks and be prepared for remedial actions if the risks occur. Time and time again there are few simple common characteristics shown by successful project leaders.
- Being aware of lessons learned from previous projects
- Plan the work thoroughly
- to understand challenges ahead
- to anticipate potential problems
- Make the team understand sources of variation and minimize where ever possible
The common theme across all these characteristics is minimizing the risks and being able to manage it to an acceptable level.
Another example of how mitigating risk is the key to successful project is the popularity of “Agile” software development and management process. Some of the attributes of Agile methodology are
- Detailing requirements during the course of the project
- Short development cycles and constant feedback
- Self managing teams
- Close collaboration between business and technical teams
Even though there are other benefits from these attributes, the underlying theme of all the attributes is reducing the risk. For e.g. short development cycles and constant feedback along with detailing the requirements during the course of the project will reduce the risk of developing something which may not be as important to the business and knowing it only at the end of the project. By then the effort wasted and cost involved would be very high. Also Self managing teams and close collaboration between teams reduces the risk of under utilization of the team resources and working in silos by breaking the communication barrier. It also helps with the success of the project since team members will develop quickly the sense of we are in it together.
Risk management is easier said than done. As you may have heard, it comes through experience. But it is not that bad since there is a lot which can be learned from the past practitioners of Project and Risk management and also from our own experience. In this series we will see some of these which may help you in your endeavor to be a successful project leader or part of a successful project team.