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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Inputs Used in the Plan Risk Responses Process

In the previous chapter, we took a high level look at the Plan Risk Responses process. Just like any other process, this process too takes a set of inputs, applies some tools and techniques and generates an output which in this case will be the “Responses to the Identified Risks”.

So, what are the items we need in order to formulate responses to the risks we have identified so far? They would be:

1. Risk Register
2. Risk Management Plan

Risk Register

This one is a no-brainer, isn’t it? What sort of response will be created if you do not know what the risk is, or the other details surrounding the risk? So, without the Risk Register, this whole activity will be plain & simple – A waste of time.

The Risk Register as you must remember by now contains he most up-to-date information about all of the risks in our project. After it gets created in the “Identify Risks” process, it is used as an input to every risk management activity that happens afterwards and gets updated in each of those processes. You may want to revisit the chapter titled Contents of the Risk Register to revise and remember what the Risk Register contains.

So, coming back to topic, by the time we reach the Plan Risk Responses Process perspective, the following items will be present in our Risk Register:

1. List of identified risks
2. Root causes of risks
3. List of potential responses
4. Risk owners
5. Symptoms and warning signs
6. Relative rating and/or priority list of project risks
7. List of risks chosen for additional analysis and/or response
8. Trends that emerged as a result of risk analysis
9. A watchlist of low priority risks

As the risk analysis processes are repeated, the risk register will continue to get updated and will start containing more and more information. So, assuming that you have reached the plan risk responses process in the first iteration, it must at a bare minimum contain the above mentioned items in order for us to identify proper responses to the risks that have been identified so far.

Risk Management Plan

Remember the chapter titled Contents of the Risk Management Plan that was covered sometime back? The risk management plan is going to contain all the information that we would require to perform the risk management activities in our project. From the plan risk responses process perspective; we will use the following from the risk management plan:

a. Risk management methodology
b. Roles and responsibilities
c. Budgeting information
d. Timing information
e. Risk categories
f. Definition of probability and impact
g. Probability and impact matrix
h. Stakeholder risk tolerance
i. Reporting formats and
j. Tracking information

The crucial element that we will require in order to formulate appropriate responses for the risks is the “Stakeholder Risk Tolerance” which basically decides how we respond to each risk. Let us say, the customer for whom you are executing the project is extremely averse to risk and is not willing to take any, all your responses will be aimed at avoiding or eliminating the risks. If you propose a scenario where a risk could cause a slight damage, the customer may get upset and case issues.

So, as a good project manager it is our duty to ensure that the responses we formulate take into account the risk tolerance and thresholds of all our important customers.

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Next: Introduction to Tools & Techniques in Plan Risk Responses

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