Saturday, November 29, 2008

What Are the Outputs of Risk Identification?

The risk identification process provides you with important information you need to make your projects successful. The outputs from risk identification are: risks, triggers, and inputs to other processes.

One of the outputs from risk identification is a list of potential project risks. A risk is an uncertain event or condition that could have a positive or negative effect on a project objective.

Examples of positive influencing risks are:
  • proposal for graphics to be developed in-house
  • proposal for quality assurance reviews to be done in-house
  • cost savings of creating the training on the web and not on CD-ROM
  • change in innovative advancements in technology
  • industry standards improving quality for the insurance certification program
Examples of negative influencing risks are:
  • conflicting software between client and developer
  • scope changes requested by client
  • intellectual property issues with client
  • content negotiations with client
  • unrealistic performance goals imposed
Whether a risk is positive or negative, it can force the project's objectives to go unfulfilled.

Triggers are symptoms or warning signs that indicate that a risk has occurred or is about to occur. Triggers can be identified using the tools and techniques of risk identification. Consider the following examples.

Ben, a project manager at a pharmaceutical company, is developing a prototype for a new chemotherapy drug. One project trigger is a failure to meet immediate milestones for the approval stages. This will cause a delay in the schedule.

Elaine, a project manager of a multimedia company, has to create a website for a bank. A trigger develops when the client asks for many more services on the site than originally planned. These scope changes signal a poorly defined scope plan.

Kathy, a project manager of an international marketing company, is on a marketing project with a group of not-for-profit disaster relief organizations. The trigger she sees is inexperienced staff which is causing delays and poor quality.

Being aware of triggers will help you deal with risks before they cause major damage to your project.

Inputs to other processes
The third output from risk identification is inputs to other processes. In the process of identifying risks, you may also identify the need for further action in another area. The action needed and supporting documentation become inputs for another process.
Communication plan - It may be necessary to revisit the communication plan if project stakeholders request a change in the way information is given to them.

Schedule - It may be necessary to revisit the schedule and build in some contingency due to changes. There may be technical risk where some new technology is being used or where equipment is not arriving on time.

Resource plan - It may be necessary to revisit the resource plan if there's a risk that several key people may leave due to illness or to other project priorities.

Work breakdown structure (WBS) - It may have been necessary to add information to the WBS if it did not have sufficient detail to allow adequate identification of risks.
The outputs of risk identification are risks, triggers, and inputs to other processes. When you are familiar with these outputs, you increase your chances of successfully achieving your project goals.

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