No matter what project your company or department is involved in, or the industry your organization is based in, you will face many threats of one form or another. The first step in being able to develop risk assessment and prevention strategies is to understand exactly what it is that you face.
It goes without saying that it is impossible to face any threat head on if you don’t know what you’re up against. Having said that, in this article, I will be going over some typical threats that organizations must face. By understanding these threats, you will have the foundation which will allow you to address them in a manner which will allow you to save both money and resources.
The first type of risk that all organizations will face are risks I refer to as being staff risks. As the name implies, these risks involve the members of the organization, particularly key members. What makes staff risks unique is that almost every organization is vulnerable to them, no matter what industry they’re based in.
The first of these risks is simply that critical staff may not be available when they’re needed the most. When the organization undertakes a new project, there is a possibility that important staff members may have to be pulled off for one reason or another. These reasons could include family emergencies, injuries, illness, or even death.
There is also the possibility that critical staff members will not perform at the level that is expected of them, and this could cause major problems with regards to completing certain projects or tasks. The second type of risks that organizations face are risks referred to as being equipment risks.
Most enterprises today, no matter what industry they’re in, make use of a variety of communications tools, most notably computers and telephone systems. Should these systems go down, it can cause major problems for the organization, and members would not be able to properly communicate with each other. This lack of communication could lead to disaster, particularly during an emergency.
Risks Involving Customers and Scope
If an organization is for profit, then it faces many risks which come from its customers. There is no way around these risks, since the customer is the life blood of any for profit organization. Customers need resources, and if these resources are damaged or missing, this is a major problem.
The staff which is responsible for handling the customer may also not be capable of making decisions in a manner which is timely, and this could lead to serious problems down the road. It is also important that the deliverables be reviewed on schedule, and if they are not, this can lead to additional dangers. If the customer staff needs to be replaced with new employees for any reason, there is risk that these new employees won’t understand the needs of the clients.
Customer conflicts are always a risk which needs to be taken seriously. For example, if a team within an organization is working on a project that involves customers from another organization, and a disagreement occurs between the two groups, this could put the entire project at risk. It is also important for a chain of command to be maintained within organizations, because when this chain is broken, a number of serious problems can occur.
Other types of risks that organizations will face are those which are referred to as being scope risks. To understand scope risks, you must understand what project scope is. Scope is best defined as the boundaries which are set in a given project.
Scope and Physical Risks
When there is not enough clarity in regards to the project scope, there are bound to be problems. These problems will cause the scope to have to be changed frequently, and this will cause major interferences within the project.
Another risk is the introduction of changes in the scope without the consent or the knowledge of the project manager. This communication failure can lead to disaster. Physical risks that the company will face include disasters, which may be either man made or natural. Earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, and acts of terrorism pose threats to employees, communication systems, and storage devices.