How to Reduce Project Risks

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A project manager is responsible for managing a project from idea to implementation within an approved time line, scope and budget. The project manager must employ several tactics to manage the project and reduce potential risks to the outcome. Project managers must stay on top of each project and manage tasks, resources, dollars and time frames, and must learn to recognize the first sign of risks and mitigate them on the outset as to not lead to project failure.

  • Plan in advance by incorporating risk into your initial project plan. Identify any tasks that carry potential project risk and build in extra time, dollars and resources into those tasks to mitigate risk. Review past projects and gather lessons learned to identify where potential issues may arise. Complete a thorough business analysis of the project prior to the project's start and ask other management of other functional areas for feedback.

  • Create a realistic project plan schedule and adhere to your project plan's time line. Do not ask team members to accomplish tasks in an unrealistic time frame. Assure that the project goals are achievable within the approved period, budget and number of resources allowed. Reduce risk by making recommendations on the project's outset that are realistic for the scope and goals.

  • Control the project's scope. Do not approve anything outside of a project's original scope unless it benefits the project's goals without significantly affecting resources, budget and time line. Tightly manage change control to assure the changes do not pose risk to the project.

  • Meet with your project team frequently to obtain task status and gauge any barriers that may present risk to the project. Ask team members to share any issues and conflicts they may see that you, as the project manager, cannot. Obtain written status reports to show documentation of project status and update the project plan at least weekly.

  • Place orders with vendors well in advance of the task due date. Prices often change and to fit within project budget, get quotes in writing so there are no pricing surprises that put the project at risk later. Depending on the vendor, orders for products and services may take a long time to arrive or implement so place them very early on so they do not pose a threat to a project's time line.

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