Program managers must lead in an environment of uncertainty. Risk management processes provide structure to handle this uncertainty. The uncertainty by itself is challenging enough, but if it is not handled with consistent methods, it escalates. Therefore, the program manager needs to create a proactive and positive culture when it comes to risk management.
This 6 part Guide to Program Risk Management will help you identify risks and walk you through the process to assess impact and involve stakeholders.
Part 1 of 6: The Program Manager’s Risk Environment
Part 2 of 6: Risk Statements
Part 3 of 6: Likelihood Scales
Part 4 of 6: Establishing Adequate Reserve
Part 5 of 6: Risk Attitudes
Part 6 of 6: Be Success Oriented
Part 6 of 6: Be Success Oriented
A major part of the way an organization performs risk management is the attitude the leader takes toward risk. That means the leader has to be positive when dealing with risk so that the positive attitude migrates to the team. The leader always sets the tone, especially in the face of adversity or high-risk situations. Risk and adversity are part of the program manager’s daily diet. That is why the program manager must focus on the positive, have a vision of success, and communicate that vision. This also involves keeping stakeholders up to speed and reassuring them during risky periods.
The program manager must focus the project managers on what they can control or inﬂuence. Anything beyond that may or may not be addressed with a response plan. In fact, a lot of things at the project level that people spend time worrying about should be ignored. The program manager must make sure project managers recognize that their job and their teams’ job is to finish regardless of the circumstances around them.
For example, two major companies were going to merge. For the better part of a year the focus was on the merger to the degree that projects stalled or were put on hold. In the end, the merger didn’t happen, and a signiﬁcant amount of productivity was lost. That is why program managers have to keep project managers focused on ﬁnishing regardless of the dynamic circumstances outside the program or project environment.
In another company there was a project manager who would say, “That is too big a problem to be a problem.” What he meant was that there were certain risks that, if they materialized, could not have been prevented by mitigation plans at his level, and the project would now be meaningless in light of the new circumstances. He would follow up the “that is too big a problem to be a problem” statement with: “Our job is to continue to be aggressive and ﬁnish this project and let the large-scale things beyond our job description and control work themselves out.”
The program manager’s responsibility is to be success-oriented and migrate that orientation throughout the program. This means managing risks without being disheartened by risk so that he or she can predispose the team to success. The program manager’s role is to create an environment that fosters project success. The way the program manager addresses risk management is a vital part of the successful project environment.
Once your team has decided on their plan and process, PPM software can help you execute that process. WorkOtter helps you successfully execute your program process strategy for project success. Get a demo of WorkOtter and see how we can make your program management effective.
“The Handbook of Program Management: How to Facilitate Project Success with Optimal Program Management, Second Edition” by James T. Brown is a copyrighted work of McGraw-Hill and McGraw-Hill reserves all rights in and to the Content. ©2014 by McGraw-Hill Education. Purchase the book on Amazon.