Project Management Institute

Protective Measures

We Asked The Project Management Community: How Do You Make Sure Your Project Team Doesn't Miss Any Threats To Project Success?




“You need to ensure the benefits register is risk-adjusted and, if using agile approaches, ensure the product backlog is risk-adjusted. Use brainstorming sessions to identify risk. Most importantly, make sure that all stakeholders understand that—regardless of the impact analysis—they need to give equal consideration to all ideas for mitigating risks and identifying residual risks. And always update risks analysis daily. Assign a single project team member to this task to maintain situational awareness.”

—Damion S. Thomas, PMI-ACP, PMP, PgMP, foreign military sales manager, program transition balanced scorecard manager—Army project management office, Millennium Corp., Aberdeen, Maryland, USA


“Reviewing the lessons learned documentation from similar past projects will, more often than not, reveal something you had not considered. For instance, I recently discovered in lessons learned files that a particular project sponsor of our company's learning courses is generally heavily involved in the design process during the development phase. So I created a mitigation plan in my course development project—we had a tight deadline to hit and would not be able to afford any delay caused by rework or additional review cycles. We had a frank discussion with this key stakeholder to find a suitable timeline for reviews and an agreement to honor the content lock sign-off procedure while having other key stakeholders on hand for discussion. To remember is to learn. That's why we keep invaluable project documents around.”

—Joseph Sayers, PMP, associate project manager for product maintenance, FranklinCovey, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA


“When team members or stakeholders come to you with concerns, take them seriously. Dissent can be frowned upon, especially in a group setting where decisions have already been made and resources committed. But all legitimate concerns raised should find their way into the risk register and be appropriately managed—and those who identify those risks should be praised. Project managers also can encourage team members to flag possible risks by continually ensuring everyone feels psychologically safe speaking up and sharing concerns.”

—Rui Vale, co-founding member, Digital Life Collective, London, England


“Having a risk register and building a risk review process into project governance are minimum requirements for reinforcing a mitigation approach spanning the entire life cycle. Risks that have a negative impact on project objectives are usually the greatest threats to project success. Identifying those risks can start with analyzing project deliverables. This helps reveal any obstacles related to scope, schedule, cost and quality. A full discovery process must engage all key stakeholders to identify risks in their respective areas. Having stakeholders on board with the risk management process also ensures that business operational risks introduced by a project are discovered much earlier.”

—Malong Dong, PMP, business transformation program manager, IAG, Sydney, Australia

Ready for Risk?


of projects deemed failures were harmed by opportunities and risks that were not identified.

Here's how frequently organizations around the world use risk management practices:


Source: Pulse of the Profession®, PMI, 2018


“It's important to create dedicated opportunities for all team members to identify and share project risks so that everyone is aware of potential problems and can develop mitigation plans. We recently held a one-hour risk workshop where we asked the project managers to share the key risks they had identified via lessons learned from previous projects or during the initial phase of the current project. Then we organized another workshop where we consolidated the different views on impact and likelihood, defined risk owners and finally assigned the risk mitigation actions—acceptance, avoidance, limitation and transference—with relevant due dates and action owners. The group was experienced and heterogeneous. Once completed, we shared the risk register with team members and asked for input from all project members and key stakeholders.”

—John Evers, PMP, global program manager, Roche, Basel, Switzerland


What other steps do you take to ensure your team doesn't overlook any key risks—and mitigates them? Share your tips on the PMI Project, Program and Portfolio Management LinkedIn Group.

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