Identifying project risks

My intention here is not to list every project risk you might face but to at least get you thinking. Every project is different, therefore not all of your risk will be the same, however there are also some generic risks.

One that quickly comes to mind is the implementation of new Training Packages. As you consider the qualifications and units of competence you will develop you should also spend some time identifying what is out there, its usefulness and currency. If you are looking at the TAA for example you need to explore TED 10 as some of the units you are used to will soon disappear or be merged with others.

Changes in staff are common throughout the life of a project. This too needs to be identified and stategies considered to counteract any potential negative affect this could have on your project.

Projects not achieving their outcomes due to poor planning and unrealistic expectations is another common risk. The key here is to develop some timelines (gantt charts, workbreakdown structures, network diagrams etc) to see how long your project will really take. If it will go beyond the current funding period (30 November) you will need to scale it back a little to make sure you are planning a successful project.

Technology issues also cause delays. Make sure you talk to your I/T people, get them on board and consider any limitations of your platform, hardware, software. Plan strategies in consultation with your I/T people to reduce or eliminate the risk.

Budget problems can also cause concerns for project teams. Carefully evaluating project costs and possible expenses at the beginning of the program is one way of managing this. Your project manager will also need to carefully manage your budget throughout the life of your project.

Lack of Management Buy-in can completely ruin a project. This is one of the reasons why you are required to get CEO and Business Partner sign off. Before you finalise your project application make sure they understand their commitment, the project outcomes (in terms of benefits to the organisation) and the roles they are expected to play.

The technical ability of your team can also cause problems if not assessed correctly. Appropriate strategies to help you may include staff undertaking skills audits at the beginning of the project to identify skill gaps and plan for any possible training required.

Projects not tracking correct are another likely possibility. Someone needs to take responsibility for monitoring project progress on a regular basis and informing team members of timelines, responsibilities etc.

Another interesting area is managing and interpreting stakeholder expectations. Careful planning and a strong communication strategy is the key to success. I came across a software project checklist that might give you some ideas of other project risks to consider as you work on your project application

As you can see the list is starting to grow and we have only considered generic risks. Project risks are a very important part of the project lifecycle so spend a little bit of time on this section to ensure your project is a success.


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