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Managing Project Risks

In any case, if your business faces challenges with project budgets, schedule, quality, or features, try asking these questions the next time you are considering a project:

Is The Project Non-Compelling Or A Bad Fit For The Project Team?

A bad fit means that it does not fall within the general professional or technical arenas in which your company has accomplishments or your colleagues have expertise. Note that, if your projects normally entail working with subject matter experts who would supply the information you need, this is not as great a concern.

Will The Project Scope Entail Operating In Unfamiliar Territory?

Even if it is a reasonable fit, if a project involves requirements your team has never worked with before, you could be overly optimistic in assuming everyone can come up to speed quickly enough to be successful on the project. You may need to seek outside expertise, although this can introduce its own risks.

Are Project Requirements, Such As Product Features, Complex?

A project that requires many complicated features to interact correctly, vastly increases the potential for problems. One risk strategy could involve agreeing to phase in and test the complexity over time. Another could be to negotiate a reduction in the number or difficulty of the features to be completed.

Are The Requirements Pitted Against An Aggressive Schedule?

Time limits of some sort exist on almost every project, and drive nearly every other project expectation. Will there be enough time to implement the requested features at the desired quality level? If not, you may want to negotiate a longer schedule, agree to reduce the requirements, or phase in some features later. You could bring in more people, although this will involve more coordination.

Are Too Few Personnel And Resources Available For The Project?

Project managers routinely lose sleep at night over what would happen if key project members were to leave, or if the funding or resources were to get chopped or significantly delayed. It is one thing to have hitches occur later in the effort, but it is another to start off unrealistically. So try not to underestimate your needs.

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