January and February are months where many project managers have the opportunity to plan and think about ways to improve their strategy. This is particularly true for those who work on a fiscal calendar that matches the calendar year. Often by the end of January, funding has been set and marching orders have been given. A new year might mean a new budget, changes to team assignments, and/or an opportunity to assess progress to date. Project portfolio managers are assessing how to prioritize their projects to meet 2013 goals. For all of those reasons and more, the time to think about risk is now.

 

In 2012, we had the opportunity to learn from some amazing project management experts:

  • Active Risk customers Skanska and Network Rail shared their insights from managing some of Europe’s largest multi-billion dollar mega projects (hear it in their own words here).
  • Rob Halstead, Head of Risk Management at Crossrail, explained how using risk management software enabled powerful integrated risk management on their high-profile construction program to increase London’s transport capacity by 10% (watch his presentation here).
  • Dr. Doug Webster, President of the Association for Federal Enterprise Risk Management, spoke about how projects and organizations should plan for dramatic changes to government funding, an issue very relevant to many (watch his presentation here).

 

Don’t wait. We know that project success equals organizational success. Effective risk and opportunity management is critical to the success of every project. Whether you’ve had a robust risk management program in place for years or you are still working to embed risk management into your team’s culture, this is a great month to set some time aside, assess your processes, and identify areas where you could improve.
 
Here are some questions to kick off the conversation:

  • How are we collecting risk information?
  • Is our risk data accurate?
  • Where is that information being stored? Does my team know how to access it and update it quickly/effectively?
  • Are we managing and using that information on a regular basis?
  • How do we package our risk analysis for external audiences? (e.g. project portfolio managers, executive teams, clients, owners, contractors, change order committees, etc)

 

Revisiting the best practices of the experts we spoke with last year is a great place to start. How else will you be assessing your project risk management processes this month? What changes or improvements do you plan to make? Share your ideas with us in the comment section below or on Twitter @ActiveRisk.

 
And finally, here are two great resources to check out as you think about your current project risk management practices:

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