Project Risks and Issues – Properly quantifying across the program


A difficult question. Across your program of work, all your projects and programs, what are the Top 10 issues and risks?

… Can you answer that? No? Why? Because the teams are not all looking at risks and issues in the same way. Typically they are operating on a feeling based approach.

The information below will help you at the program level to implement a proper quantification program, help you rank your risks and issues, and therefore assign management and resources to the most needy places.

For a color version of this post in MS Word, please click the link below.
Risk and Issue Management Matrix

Begin by adding the following 5 mandatory fields to your Risk Register.

A

B

C

D

E

Risk Probability (Likelihood) Risk Exposure (Who) Risk Consequence (When) Risk Mitigation Confidence Evaluated Score
5 Certain to occur 5 Program Level Impact 5 Final Release Impact 8 Mitigation Certain

(A+B+C)-D

4 Evidence of risk apparent 4 Project Level Impact 4 Major Milestone Impact 6 Mitigation Evidence Available
3 Risk likely to occur 3 Team Level Impact 3 Deliverable Impact 4 Mitigation Likely
2 Remote possibility of risk 2 Group Level Impact 2 Objective Impact 2 Mitigation Possible
1 Extremely Improbable Occurrence 1 Personal Level Impact 1 Task Impact 0 Mitigation Impossible

Applied to each Risk, you can now “band” your Risks per the table below.

15 Extremely high likelihood of failure. At this point, contingency plans are almost certain to be used. Make sure you have a Plan B ready. Band A
14
13
12 Begin to prepare contingency plans, look for resources that can be shifted or budget that can be re-allocated. These risks can turn into project-killers if not addressed immediately and definitively. Band B
11
10
9 Risks in this band begin to have meaningful impact on your projects and program of work. Management should review risks regularly that score 8 or higher. It is likely that these risks roll up to larger issues. Band C
8
7
6 Risks in this band are not in the critical category yet, however that can quickly change. This band is the tipping point between management escalation or not. In review meetings focus on this band. Band D
5
4
3 Mitigation confidence can be the sting in the tail of Risks in this band. It is highly likely that Risks here are seen as low impact however may not be able to be mitigated. Watch these ones closely. Band E
2
1
0 These risks will typically have high mitigation confidence. Ensure that confidence is well founded, ask for plans/lists. The scope of these risks is unlikely to change but probability may escalate sharply. Band F
-1
-2
-3 The scope of this Risk is unlikely to expand sufficiently to be a threat to your overall plans, however it is likely that some risks in this area are not reported accurately because they are little understood. Band G
-4
-5

The guide for each score in each field is below

A

B

C

D

Risk Probability (Likelihood) Risk Exposure (Who) Risk Consequence (When) Risk Mitigation Confidence
5 Certain to occur
At some point before the release date,
the risk will become an issue. Only
sustained and proactive action can
prevent the realization of this risk although
this will likely prove difficult to achieve.
5 Program Level Impact
Impact to the overall program
of work, other projects, other
departments, Nomura external
and/or dependencies between
projects. Very high level of
communication will be required
and involvement from the PMO
is mandatory. Consideration
to overall migration dependencies
must be factored in. i.e. if this risk
is realized, other projects go-live
may be impacted. In this scenario
this risk will be listed as Exposure 5
5 Final Release ImpactAs listed on this Risk, the
release date is at risk.
The release date is unlikely
to be achieved due to this
Risk.
8 Mitigation CertainThe Risk Owner is absolutely
confident that the Risk will
be mitigated.
4 Evidence of risk apparent
There is data available that points to the
risk becoming an issue, methods of
mitigation are available however the
trend of this risk points to a downturn
in available options and eventual
downgrade of this risk to Level 5 or
conversion to an Issue.
4 Project Level ImpactImpact is limited to within the
project, no cross project, external
or other non-project exposure
exists, however the overall project
is impacted and its ability to
function is at risk.
4 Major Milestone ImpactMajor milestones in the
approved project plan are
unlikely to be achieved
due to this Risk.
6 Mitigation Evidence Available
Evidence points to the
mitigation of the Risk, however
some quantifiable doubt
still remains as to the ability
of the team to mitigate the risk.
There is a short list of concrete
actions that, if followed, will
very likely upgrade this Risk
to a mitigation score of 8.
3 Risk likely to occur
Although no data is available that points
to the risk becoming an issue and methods ofmitigation are available, the trend of this
risk points to a downturn in available
options and eventual downgrade of this
risk to Level 4 or Level 5 or even furtherconversion to an Issue.
3 Team Level ImpactAny team of individuals within
a project who are assigned to
a specific section of the project
work are or are potentially
impacted. This team is an official
team and usually responsible
for delivery of a piece of work that
is well known to the project
management.
3 Deliverable ImpactDeliverables that support
milestones in the approved
project plan are at risk.
Most likely if this risk is realized,
the Milestone will not achieve
the timeline set.
4 Mitigation LikelyAlthough no evidence is available
that points to the mitigation of
the Risk, based on current factors
mitigation is likely.There is a list of actions that,
if followed, the team believe willvery likely upgrade this Risk

to a mitigation score of 6 or 8.

2 Remote possibility of risk
No data is available that pointsto the risk becoming an issue and methods ofmitigation are available. The Risk is stable
and unlikely to deteriorate. It is unlikely
that this risk will be realized.
2 Group Level ImpactAny group of individuals who
are coming together on an ad-hoc
basis to achieve a project objective.These people are usually not well
known to senior management
but are performing a coordinated
action and are impacted or
potentially impacted by this risk.
2 Objective ImpactObjectives that supportdeliverable in the approvedproject plan are at risk.

Most likely if this risk is realized,

the delivery of the deliverable

will not be achieved in the
timeline set.

2 Mitigation PossibleThrough investigation it is
understood that mitigation
can be achieved. Methods and
tools are yet to be brought to
bare, however the approach and
guidelines for success are
understood.
1 Extremely Improbable Occurrence
Only in a specific and unlikely set of
circumstances will this risk deteriorate.
This risks’ existence should be realized and
communicated, however it is very unlikely
that it will deteriorate or other significant
actions need to be taken.
1 Personal Level ImpactAs an individual team member, this
risk is or will impact your ability to
conduct your individual tasks.
Before raising risks at this level,
please discuss with the project
manager or your team leader
the benefits of doing so.
If any other risk assessment criteria
is sufficiently high, then even
personal level risks should be raised.
1 Task ImpactTasks that supportobjectives in the approvedproject plan are at risk.

Most likely if this risk is realized,

the delivery of the objective

will not be achieved in the

timeline set.

0 Mitigation ImpossibleMitigation approaches, tools
and methods have been
investigated however all methods
have been exhausted and this
Risk will now be converted into
an Issue. This is the final reporting
stage before an issue is created.

 

Continue by adding the following 5 mandatory fields to your Issue Register.

A

B

C

D

E

Resolution Execution (Time) Issue Exposure (Who) Issue Consequence (When) Issue Mitigation Confidence Evaluated Score
5 More than 2 Weeks Delay 5 Program Level Impact 5 Final Release Impact 8 Mitigation Certain

(A+B+C)-D

4 More than 1 Week Delay 4 Project Level Impact 4 Major Milestone Impact 6 Mitigation Evidence Available
3 Less than 1 Week Delay 3 Team Level Impact 3 Deliverable Impact 4 Mitigation Likely
2 On Schedule 2 Group Level Impact 2 Objective Impact 2 Mitigation Possible
1 Ahead of Schedule 1 Personal Level Impact 1 Task Impact 0 Mitigation Impossible

 

A

B

C

D

Resolution Execution (Time) Issue Exposure (Who) Issue Consequence (When) Issue Mitigation Confidence
5 More than 2 Weeks DelayFor the mitigation plan that has been
explained, agreed and baselined,
more than 2 weeks delay of achieving
this schedule is realized.
5 Program Level Impact
Impact to the overall program
of work, other projects, other
departments, Nomura external
and/or dependencies between
projects. Very high level of
communication is required
and involvement from the PMO
is mandatory. Consideration
to overall migration dependencies
must be factored in. i.e. if this issue
impacts other projects’ go-live,
then, in this scenario, this issue
will be listed as Exposure 5
5 Final Release ImpactAs listed on this Issue, the
release date is at issue.
The release date is unlikely
to be achieved due to this
Issue.
8 Mitigation CertainThe Issue Owner is absolutely
confident that the Issue will
be mitigated.
4 More than 1 Week DelayFor the mitigation plan that has beenexplained, agreed and baselined,more than 1 week delay of achieving

this schedule is realized.

4 Project Level ImpactImpact is limited to within the
project, no cross project, external
or other non-project exposure
exists, however the overall project
is impacted and its ability to
function is an issue.
4 Major Milestone ImpactMajor milestones in the
approved project plan are
unlikely to be achieved
due to this Issue.
6 Mitigation Evidence Available
Evidence points to the
mitigation of the Issue, however
some quantifiable doubt
still remains as to the ability
of the team to mitigate the issue.
There is a short list of concrete
actions that, if followed, will
very likely upgrade this Issue
to a mitigation score of 8.
3 Less than 1 Week DelayFor the mitigation plan that has beenexplained, agreed and baselined,delay is experienced however
it is less than 1 week.

 

3 Team Level ImpactAny team of individuals within
a project who are assigned to
a specific section of the project
work are or are potentially
impacted. This team is an official
team and usually responsible
for delivery of a piece of work that
is well known to the project
management.
3 Deliverable ImpactDeliverables that support
milestones in the approved
project plan are at issue.
Most likely if this issue is realized,
the Milestone will not achieve
the timeline set.
4 Mitigation LikelyAlthough no evidence is available
that points to the mitigation of
the Issue, based on current factors
mitigation is likely.There is a list of actions that,
if followed, the team believe willvery likely upgrade this Issue

to a mitigation score of 6 or 8.

2 On ScheduleFor the mitigation plan that has beenexplained, agreed and baselined,the mitigation plan is on schedule. 2 Group Level ImpactAny group of individuals who
are coming together on an ad-hoc
basis to achieve a project objective.These people are usually not well
known to senior management
but are performing a coordinated
action and are impacted or
potentially impacted by this issue.
2 Objective ImpactObjectives that supportdeliverable in the approvedproject plan are at issue.

Most likely if this issue is realized,

the delivery of the deliverable

will not be achieved in the
timeline set.

2 Mitigation PossibleThrough investigation it is
understood that mitigation
can be achieved. Methods and
tools are yet to be brought to
bare, however the approach and
guidelines for success are
understood.
1 Ahead of ScheduleFor the mitigation plan that has beenexplained, agreed and baselined,the mitigation plan is ahead of schedule. 1 Personal Level ImpactAs an individual team member, this
issue does or will impact your ability to
conduct your individual tasks.
Before raising issues at this level,
please discuss with the project
manager or your team leader
the benefits of doing so.
If any other issue assessment criteria
is sufficiently high, then even
personal level issues should be raised.
1 Task ImpactTasks that supportobjectives in the approvedproject plan are at issue.

Most likely if this issue is realized,

the delivery of the objective

will not be achieved in the

timeline set.

0 Mitigation ImpossibleMitigation approaches, tools
and methods have been
investigated however all methods
have been exhausted and this
issue cannot be fixed.
Usually the only recourse is a
change request or re-planning.

 The sum of the scores from the matrices above will create a banding for each issue and risk enabling us to determine if an issue or risk is Green, Amber or Red.

 

One thought on “Project Risks and Issues – Properly quantifying across the program

  1. I had an interesting comment when I presented this last week, someone suggested that the Probability factor should be a multiplying factor, rather than an additive factor only. Up to your preference if you think one dimension is more important than another. Good feedback though.

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