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Although they don’t have the right to be boring, I have found that many risk meetings can be very enjoyable. This month’s publication, A Short Guide to Facilitating risk Management, focuses on how to get the most out of your risk management meetings.
Ruth Murray-Webster, Penny Pullan and Penny Pullan have written this book. It provides practical guidance for facilitating risk workshops and making risk management happen beyond the workshop setting. The cartoons are a visual aid to help you get things done without making it difficult for those who must attend risk reviews.
The book offers a clear introduction to managing risk (including opportunities) in an entertaining, professional manner with the goal of gaining consensus. It is very practical and includes real-life examples that show how risk management can be ingrained in the daily management of initiatives within your organization. It’s pragmatic too: they refer to a risk owner as someone who is “paid to care” about the potential impact of a risk on project objectives.
Risk management has many benefits
The authors begin from the assumption that people are naturally capable of being risk managers. We have escaped sabre-tooth Tigers, managed to escape various plagues, and don’t drive on motorways. We wouldn’t be able to manage risk if we didn’t know how to.
They also recognize that there are opportunities as well as risks. They use the Hillson-Murray-Webster definition that “Risks are uncertainties that are important” to manage these uncertainties. This is what adds value for project delivery.
The authors offer three benefits to risk management:
There is less waste of time and effort because there are fewer problems that could be foreseen, missed chances, rework, and hassle.
Because there are fewer surprises, there is more confidence in plans, forecasts, and relationships.
Better decisions are possible because decision-making is based upon the best information available – not just what is, but what could be.
If that doesn’t convince people that risk management should be taken seriously and done properly, then I don’t know what will.
Great advice for risk meetings
Even if your facilitation experience is extensive, you will likely learn new techniques from this book. This book was my favorite.
How can you determine if people are likely to follow through with their actions? Ask them about their intention – this is their intent to take action. Penny uses a scale from 1-10 to ask participants to rate their likelihood of completing each action. If they are unsure if they can do the actions, she adjusts the action. It is better to have an imperfectly completed action than one that isn’t.
These tips include how to include people in risk meetings, how you manage the output and onward actions, as well as how to help people overcome their fear of writing on flip charts in public.
The book is only 30,000 words, so it’s very short. You can read the entire book in one sitting, or you can pick and choose the parts that interest you. You don’t have to be poor at risk management. Now you can learn how to do it in an engaging and fun way. Even better!
You can find out more about Facilitating Risk online at the authors’ site.