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Mis à jour le 02/03/2022

Decide When to Perform a Risk Analysis

Discover Project Management

The typical story of managing projects usually sounds something like this:

  • Put together the specifications, draft a competitive budget with clear costs, and build a detailed Gantt chart.

  • Divide the project into phases and identify the key deliverables.

  • Implement a system of administration with agreements to hold regular meetings and use all the necessary resources to succeed.

  • Identify the key project stakeholders and outline a communication plan. 

For the most part, project breakdowns seem pretty straightforward.

However, there may be times when you think that it can't be that easy or that you are too optimistic.

Perhaps you have a deadline and don’t listen to yourself.

You complete the project but have many surprises along the way. You don’t deliver what you promised, don’t finish on time, the project doesn’t work, your team is exhausted, and your client is disappointed.

Don’t worry; you’re not alone.

Understand Why Projects Fail

According to the web and mobile application development agency Armia Systems, there are many reasons a project can fail, from vague scoping or poor planning.

Figure 1: Why most web projects fail Ambiguous scope  Scope creep  No sync between teammates  Inefficient project management  Lack of resources  Lack of user involvement  Poor planning  Sloppy quality assurance

Source: https://www.armia.com/blog/why-do-some-web-projects-fail/

This graph includes plenty of interesting and reassuring figures.

Projects rarely go as planned, and it’s normal for them to fail in some way and at some point.

While they all have surprises, you can have greater security if you use proper risk analysis.

Let’s look at how. 😊

Analyze the Risks in the Early Stages

A project generally includes five steps:

  1. Identifying the need

  2. Conducting a feasibility study

  3. Design

  4. Execution

  5. Conclusion

A timeline that shows the 5 phases of the project lifecycle 1 Formalization of needs 2 feasibility study 3 project design 4 completion of the project 5 project finalization Risk analysis is in the feasibility study phase
Where to position risk analysis in the project lifecycle

1. Identify the Needs

During this phase, consider the foundations of the project. For large ones, you may carry out a scoping study. However, for digital projects, you'll more likely create a risk assessment framework document.

The framework document includes a quick description of the project context, outlining the needs, and confirming the objectives.

This phase is crucial as it will ensure that you understand the context. Then, later on, you will see how that knowledge will help you analyze the risks.

2. Conduct a Feasibility Study

A project is an investment, so make sure you can complete it before getting started. During this phase, you will:

  • Look at how to reach the project objectives.

  • Calculate whether it will be profitable.

  • Decide whether it will be feasible (in terms of technical, cost, and time).

  • Learn about the consequences of the project on the environment concerned.

Considering the risks and restrictions of a project during this phase allows you to decide whether to go ahead or take measures to make the project more feasible.

3. Design a Plan of Execution 

In this phase, you try to make the solutions from the feasibility study happen. First, you define your project's scope (operational and technical) and outline the tasks. You will then build a plan and a sufficient budget for what you need to succeed. 

Pay attention to the lessons you learn during your risk analysis. The goal is to limit the potential risks you have identified and implement steps to lessen them.

4. Execute the Plan

During the execution phase, you will carry out actions from the design phase, including testing.

By the end, you will be able to deliver the finished product, which will bring value to your client.

5. Conduct a Postmortem

Many neglect this key phase (for many understandable reasons). During the postmortem, you learn the lessons from the project by looking at the results and how they were carried out. Some people refer to this as the conclusion phase.

Work as a Team on Your Risk Analysis

The more you practice, the better your risk analyses will be. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t learn from your first few attempts. Don’t hesitate to ask for the support of other team members when analyzing a project. By working with others, you’re bringing in more experience and making it more likely that you will accurately identify potential risks.

Let's Recap!

  • Knowing how to use the available equipment is not enough to guarantee project success.

  • Failure during a project is not unusual.

  • A risk analysis will help you to increase the chances of being successful.

  • Carry out a risk analyses at the start of a project, during the feasibility study phase. It will impact the project lifecycle.

Be careful, though; not everything is a risk! Therefore, it's important to understand what a risk is, which you'll learn in the next chapter.

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