Overview of Project Risk Management and Related Services


The following examples illustrate some of our project risk management capabilities for industry and government:


We develop a risk management process tailored to your project

·        Context:  Your project is new or is an existing one without a formalized risk management process.

·        Intended results and benefits:  We provide a world-class risk management process tailored to your project that meets/exceeds your expectations.  This process can be adapted by your organization, and maintained by your personnel.

·        Structure:  We work with your senior project management, systems engineering and other person to tailor the process to your needs, including, but not limited to the budget, schedule, scope, organizational culture and structure, and contractual requirements in place on your project. We develop a realistic, appropriate solution and strongly believe that "one size does not fit all."

·        Experience:  We have successfully implemented risk management processes on a variety of projects, including hardware-intensive, software-intensive, and mixed projects.  This has included multiple cases where the risk management approach was implemented across a variety of subsequent projects by the organization.

·        Contact:  Please call us for additional information.


We perform an independent assessment or guide a team in evaluating your existing risk management process

·        Context:  You or your customers have questions/concerns about the efficacy of your risk management process.

·        Intended results and benefits:  We perform an independent assessment of your risk management or related process.  Our recommendations will be crafted in a manner to permit you to implement recommended changes to insure lasting value long after the assessment is completed.

·        Structure:  We work with your project personnel to develop a suitable evaluation plan, perform the evaluation, document the results, and review them with your project team.  This includes such things as the risk management process steps and how well they are performed, evaluating the degree of comprehensiveness of the existing process, and organizational and behavioral aspects of how well it is implemented.  For example:

·        Little effort is typically put into risk planning and developing a good Risk Management Plan, yet without this it is common to find risk categories overlooked that contribute to problems that surface later in the project.

·        Risk assessments often use an incomplete risk identification methodology and a flawed risk analysis methodology whose limitations are not well understood by project personnel.

·        Risk handling plans are often developed in a somewhat unstructured manner and without considering the range of candidate risk handling options (assumption, avoidance, control and transfer), nor suitable strategies for each option.

·        Risk monitoring metrics are typically implemented without consideration for obtaining data at the same WBS element or activity level and the same snapshot in time to permit a multi-dimensional evaluation of actual versus planned progress in implementing risk handling plans.

·        Experience:  We have successfully performed independent reviews of risk management and related processes (e.g., Cost as an Independent Variable) on a variety of projects.  These reviews have led to process improvements implemented by the host organization (e.g., restructured organizational approach, revised risk analysis methodology).

·        Contact:  Please call us for additional information.


We help you define the best level of risk management process sophistication for your project

·        Context:  You are considering enhancing your suite of risk management tools and techniques but are unclear which ones to select and how to implement them.

·        Intended results and benefits:  We provide your project with a suitable set of risk management tools and techniques that are competent and can be used by project personnel without outside assistance.

·        Structure:  We work with your project personnel to develop a set of suitable tools and techniques for risk identification, analysis, handling, and monitoring that can be implemented and maintained by your project personnel.

·        Experience:  We have successfully implemented a variety of risk management tools and techniques on a number of projects.  This includes risk identification, analysis, handling, and monitoring tools and techniques.  Of greatest importance is that we select and tailor the tools and techniques for your project and don’t force-fit an answer that may not work for you.  In some cases we have successfully developed new tools (e.g., risk identification approaches and risk scales) or adapted existing tools (e.g., checklists and simulations) for a client.  In other cases we have recommended against the use of a particular tool because of substantial limitations that could not be overcome and the possibility of generating erroneous results (e.g., math performed on results from ordinal risk scales and Monte Carlo simulations when substantial uncertainty existed that could not be bounded).  We have also developed fresh approaches for examining risk identification techniques, risk mapping matrices for converting risk scores to risk levels, risk handling strategies, and risk monitoring approaches, and developed and performed several hundred cost, performance, and schedule Monte Carlo simulations since the 1970s.  We do not market risk management tools, and thus do not have a biased perspective on process sophistication like some consultants do who also use tools as a means of selling engineering services.

·        Contact:  Please call us for additional information.


We help you define a good risk management organizational and behavioral implementation approach

·        Context:  In order to achieve effective risk management, both top-down support from the project manager and bottom-up support from working level personnel are necessary. If only one or the other occurs, the effectiveness will be diminished. In addition, the organization structure you choose for implementing risk management can impact its effectiveness. For example, what should the project manager's role be, who should be the working level focal point for risk management on the project, what should their reporting function be, what support should this person have, how frequently should risk be evaluated on the project, etc.?

·        Intended results and benefits:  We work with your project personnel to develop a tailored risk management implementation approach that ranges from organizational ownership of the risk management process to roles and responsibilities of key project personnel and teams.  This allows you to better implement risk management in a resource-effective manner on your project and also transfer appropriate portions of this approach to other projects within your organization.

·        Structure:  We examine the project's organizational structure and contractual requirements and work with senior management to develop a tailored implementation approach and plan for the project.

·        Experience:  We have successfully developed and implemented policy on several projects that define the risk management organizational structure, ownership, and roles and responsibilities.  This has ranged from mid-sized projects (e.g., ~ $20 Million life cycle) to large-scale projects (> $1 Billion life cycle) as well as information contained in Risk Management Plans in wide-scale use across organizations.

·        Contact:  Please call us for additional information.


We provide a balance between risk management process sophistication and organizational implementation policy

·        Context:  You are seeking guidance on how to enhance your risk management process.  You notice that the existing process is either not continuously used or only used by a fraction of project personnel.  The process itself may not conform to available best practices and may include one or more steps that are weak and/or unstructured.

·        Intended results and benefits:  We work with your project personnel to identify risk management shortfalls and improve process effectiveness by strengthening the process (as needed), and enhancing the project climate to encourage participants to actively and continuously perform risk management.

·        Structure:  We strongly believe that the organizational and behavioral aspects of implementing risk management is far more difficult than improving the level of technical sophistication (which can often be accomplished in weeks). Assume that the technical sophistication and organizational implementation both represent a number from 0 to 1 and the product of these two values yields the overall level of effectiveness. Consequently, you can have a virtually perfect process technically, but if it is not well implemented, the overall effectiveness will be very low. To the contrary, a process with "average" technical sophistication but very well implemented may well yield an effective risk management process. Given these considerations, we carefully develop a balance between how sophisticated the process should be versus how extensively it is implemented on the project.

·        Experience:  We have successfully balanced risk management process sophistication with organizational implementation on several projects.  These cases range from “green fields” where we developed and implemented the process on a project that did not previously have a risk management process to existing processes where we did/did not recommend additional tools and techniques, recommended a shift in organizational process ownership, and recommended changes in management roles and responsibilities to enhance process implementation.

·        Contact:  Please call us for additional information.


We evaluate risk management process integration with other key project processes

·        Context:  Your project has a risk management process along with numerous other processes.  You want to know how well integrated these processes are with each other in order to better apply scarce resources.

·        Intended results and benefits:  We provide you with a clear understanding of how well the risk management process in place on your project is integrated with other related processes, and whether/not resources can be more efficiently allocated across the project by adjusting the integration of the individual processes.  This can lead to reduced resources needed to maintain the risk management process and better integration with other project processes.

·        Structure:  We evaluate how well risk management is integrated with your other key project processes, and provide specific recommendations for improving process integration as warranted.

·        Experience:  We have evaluated risk management process integration on a variety of projects and found that risk management functions are sometimes distributed to other project processes, yet the necessary activities are not properly performed nor coordinated, nor integrated with the risk management process.  This can lead to an inefficient, if not incorrect, picture of the heath and status of risk management both at the project-level as well as for individual risks.  We recognize that risk management is not the “center of the universe,” and help you improve overall process effectiveness regardless of the degree that it is centralized/de-centralized.

·        Contact:  Please call us for additional information.


We evaluate risk management process integration across projects

·        Context:  Your organization has a wide variety of projects that include different risk management processes.  You want to know how compatible are these processes with the organization’s best practices, with each other, with customer needs, and whether/not the various implementations are performed in a resource-effective manner across the organization.

·        Intended results and benefits:  We provide you with a clear understanding of the risk management process in place on each project, how they align with your best practices and customer requirements, and whether/not resources can be more efficiently allocated across the organization by re-aligning the individual processes.  This can lead to reduced resources needed to maintain the risk management process and greater process compatibility across projects.

·        Structure:  We help develop, evaluate, and implement risk management processes across projects within your organization. We help you strike a balance between having separate processes for each project (which can waste resources and lead to ineffective risk management on some projects), and blindly applying the same process to a number of projects (which can also lead to ineffective risk management because "one size does not fit all"). We work with senior management and staff to identify minimum considerations for each project (tempered, of course, by contractual requirements) and guidelines for adding additional features as required contractually and warranted by the budget, scope, schedule, and other considerations on the project.

·        Experience:  We have worked with upper management and project teams to evaluate risk management processes across projects in large-scale organizations.  This has led to a better understanding of risk management process shortfalls not related to contractual requirements, and how the process could be better implemented across the organization.

·        Contact:  Please call us for additional information.


We assist in managing moderate to high complexity projects

·        Context:  A project product or deliverable requires additional management attention; often because the risk is about to manifest as a problem with substantial adverse impact to the project.

·        Intended results and benefits:  We provide a variety of support from direct project management (e.g., program office team lead) to staff functions (e.g., advisor to project manager) to assist management in resolving the potential issues.  In addition, we provide accurate communication and documentation to evaluate project status, and support management in developing “white papers” and other desired reporting.

·        Structure:  We work with your management to define suitable roles and responsibilities, then implement the desired mission in a manner compatible with your policies and organizational culture.

·        Experience:  We have extensive experience in managing key aspects of moderate to high complexity (including troubled projects), and reporting to and briefing senior managers and program managers. This includes roles with high-levels of visibility to upper management and with long-term responsibility and accountability.  The support has contributed to reduced risk, and meeting cost, performance, and schedule objectives on key projects.  For example, in one case we were asked to provide project leadership when upper management determined that a hardware component, which was also on the critical path, had an unanticipated multi-month schedule slip.  We worked on a daily basis with team members from several organizations to structure and implement a suitable integrated project management and risk management approach, and focused resources on resolving technical issues.  Upper management delegated signature authority to me for funding non-recurring activities to bring the design to closure as well as the design sell-off.  (Major unanticipated technical issues were also uncovered related to the inability of the vendor to bring the component to a suitable design closure.  A suitable design solution was identified by other team members and folded-into the integrated management approach.)  The component design was successfully completed, the total program component buy was delivered, and production units built without further concern regarding this item.

·        Contact:  Please call us for additional information.


We provide direct project support

·        Context:  You need to perform risk management on your project but to not have sufficient trained personnel to conduct risk management and generate necessary products.

·        Intended results and benefits:  We perform risk management in a resource-effective manner and provide near-term benefits as well as a successful risk management “track record” that you can build upon for the future.

·        Structure:  We provide direct support on a wide variety of projects. This includes the role of risk manager, risk management consultant to the project manager or head of systems engineering organization, etc. Activities performed include, but are not limited to: evaluating the existing process and developing recommendations to enhance its effectiveness, developing a new risk management process for a new project, developing the Risk Management Plan, developing the risk analysis methodology, conducting risk assessments, and advising the project's risk management board.

·        Experience:  We have substantial experience in providing direct support to organizations where we have performed risk management on a wide variety of projects.  This includes working with project personnel on all process steps, generating output to document and communicate results, briefing project management (and at their discretion higher-level management), and other activities requested by project management.

·        Contact:  Please call us for additional information.


We provide on-site mentoring of project personnel

·        Context:  A candidate risk manager has been identified that is inexperienced relative to the level of complexity of the intended project.

·        Intended results and benefits:  We provide on-site mentoring of risk managers and other key personnel to improve their skills, and provide follow-up assistance during the course of the project. This can multiply risk management effectiveness within your organization by developing a cadre of personnel with good working knowledge and experience in risk management. These personnel can become the next generation of mentors (perhaps with some outside assistance or follow-up mentoring) who then train the next round of candidate risk managers and risk management focal points within the organization. Using this approach, the organization builds a group personnel that can effectively implement risk management on your projects.

·        Structure:  We examine the project's organizational structure and contractual requirements and work with senior management to develop a tailored implementation plan for the project.

·        Experience:  We have successfully worked with and mentored several candidate project risk managers to increase both their knowledge of risk management and how it was implemented on the target project.  This has included side-by-side work on more than one project/more than one organization.  Project personnel we have mentored have become risk managers and risk management focal points at large-scale companies, and have authored risk management sections that assisted their companies to win multi-billion dollar programs.

·        Contact:  Please call us for additional information.


We help you prepare for major project reviews

·        Context:  You have a major project review scheduled and need assistance in updating risk management results, developing suitable documentation, and accurately communicating both your status and future plans.

·        Intended results and benefits:  We work with management and project personnel to provide high-quality results and documentation to support your project reviews.  This also provides a template that can be used as a starting point for future project reviews, thus reducing your resources for subsequent updates.

·        Structure:  We perform an independent assessment of your risk management process, results to date, and how the message is portrayed to your customers.  We work with management and project personnel to identify and develop material needed for the review, and update the information as requested by management personnel.  We advise you how to strengthen your presentation and documentation in each of these areas and work with key project personnel to improve their level of knowledge.  Should you desire, we will assist you in responding to action items that result from reviews.

·        Experience:  We have developed risk-related documentation for numerous project reviews.  This includes cases where the client asked us to brief results to the customer.  The documentation provided has ranged from re-compiling existing information to updating risk results to reflect current information for the review.

·        Contact:  Please call us for additional information.


We develop and evaluate risk management documentation

·        Context:  Your risk management documentation does not provide management with sufficient visibility into the nature of why an item is a risk, what the rationale is for analyzing and assigning a level to the risk, a plan to reduce the risk to an acceptable level, and/or changes in risk level vs time.

·        Intended results and benefits:  We develop risk management documentation that is conducive for long-term use—striking a balance between too simplistic and overly burdensome.  This documentation (or enhancements made to your documentation) are tailored to your needs, contractual requirements, can subsequently be modified as desired, and used on your other projects.

·        Structure:  We examine existing documentation where available and recommend resource-effective enhancements.  Insufficient documentation often results in a poor and/or subjective of risk results which can translate into missed risk categories for a given issue, inaccurate risk analysis results, a poorly implemented risk handling plan, and insufficient information as to why risks have changed during the course of a project.  On the other hand, excessive documentation will often preclude its use and can lead to diminished enthusiasm to perform risk management on the project.  We strike a balance between these undesirable extremes to identify documentation that is both sufficient for present and future needs, and resource effective as well.

·        Experience:  We have extensive experience in both developing and evaluating risk management documentation on a variety of programs, including contractual deliverables, the project's Risk Management Plan (RMP), plus supporting documentation and forms for risk identification, risk analysis, risk handling, and risk monitoring.  For example, the RMP written for one project was circulated by the organization’s executives to numerous customers. In each case the customer reportedly responded that the document was "exactly" the RMP that they wanted, and the risk management process described within the document was also their process of choice.  This RMP became the template for all projects within the organization.  In another case, the RMP written for the customer during a proposal was used as a template for all RMPs subsequently developed within the organization.  We also have experience in balancing the amount of information needed for reporting against the allocation of project personnel and other resources to provide, maintain, and evaluate the information.

·        Contact:  Please call us for additional information.


We develop RFPs and proposals

·        Context:  You desire to write risk management language for an RFP or need help writing a winning risk management proposal section.

·        Intended results and benefits:  We work with your project personnel to provide high-quality language that can be inserted into an RFP or winning text that can be integrated into your proposal.

·        Structure:  We work with project personnel to develop suitable risk management language for buyer RFPs and seller proposals tailored to your needs; contractual limitations; project acquisition phase; project budget, scope, schedule, etc.

·        Experience:  We are the primary author of the Air Force Risk Management Critical Process Assessment Tool (Version 2.0) that includes extensive risk management sample RFP language for the Statement of Objectives, Proposal Preparation Instructions for Section L, and Evaluation Factors for Award (Section M).  We have also made major contributions to numerous industry proposals, and have had primary responsibility for risk management in several winning proposals with a contract and option dollar value far exceeding $10 Billion.

·        Contact:  Please call us for additional information.


We provide on-site training

·        Context:  You desire on-site training for risk management and related topics.

·        Intended results and benefits:  We train project and other desired personnel and provide them with “hands on” knowledge of the risk management process and its implementation.  This permits them to contribute to your risk management activities in both the near-term as well as longer time-frames.

·        Structure:  Our training is tailored to your needs and can be focused as required (e.g., to the level of existing knowledge of personnel, the project acquisition phase, and project type). Training ranges from one hour overviews; to half day intensive executive and senior engineering reviews; to one, two, and three day intensive courses.  A sample brochure for our two and three day courses is available on-line by visiting the risk management training link on this site here, Example risk management course outline,  or through the site roadmap at the bottom of the web page:

·        Experience:  We have successfully performed on-site/in-house risk management training from the project level to the major corporate level to a number of organizations.  What sets our training apart from most others is that we have considerable experience making risk management work on actual projects.  Believe it or not, this is far different than the vast majority of risk management trainers who have never extensively performed risk management on an actual project.  If the trainer has performed risk management, it typically has been narrowly focused on minor aspects of the process (e.g., quantitative risk analysis), or the trainer has had little/no long-term responsibility and accountability to make risk management work on the project.  As a project manager I know (who is also a medical doctor and one who holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering) said:  “you wouldn’t allow yourself to have surgery from someone who only read about it in a book, you’d want a qualified resident with considerable real-world experience.”  Similarly, why should you obtain risk management training from someone without extensive real-world implementation experience?

·        Contact:  Please call us for additional information.



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