Sunday, February 15, 2009

Using Project Communication Documents to Control Risk

Often, team members spend time sharing information that may provide clues to potential project risks. How can this valuable information be incorporated into the risk monitoring and control process?

Project managers and project team members can monitor risks through project communication. Generally, these are documents that provide information on project performance and risks throughout the project's life cycle. As project performance is being monitored, so are project risks. Performance that is lower than expected may indicate that a project risk is emerging, or if performance improves, this may indicate that a risk has been brought under control.

The most obvious communication documents to use in monitoring risks are the work results, project records, and project reports.

Work results
Work results are the outcomes of a project and may include results such as information on the completion status of project deliverables, acquired or allocated costs and resources, and whether project quality standards have been met. It is important to gather reliable and consistent work results, as they are useful for performance reporting and monitoring project risks.

Project records
Project records contain other project information that you should consider when assessing project performance and risks. Project records may include correspondence, memos, and documents describing portions of the project. Project team members may even keep personal records in a project notebook.

Project reports
Project reports are a type of formal documentation that you and your project team can use for risk monitoring and control. Some of the most commonly used reports are:
  • issue logs keep track of issues that are risks and issues that could lead to risks. Issue logs contain information such as the date, time, details of the issue, responses implemented, and person reporting the issue.
  • action-item lists record information regarding responses to risks. These lists often include a description of the action, the name of the person assigned the action, when it is due, and its status.
  • jeopardy warnings are reports that warn project team members that a risk may be about to occur. This information gives the team a chance to prepare its response.
  • escalation notices are reports that inform decision makers that a risk has escalated to a higher level. With this information, decision makers can determine the best way to respond.
You and your project team can extract important clues for risk monitoring and control from project communication documents such as work results, project records, and project reports.

No comments: