Over the weekend I spent a wonderful Saturday cruising the canyons of northern Utah on my motorcycle. It was a beautiful day and the canyons were incredible. My favorite rides are from canyon to canyon and Saturday was the perfect example. I started with a ride to Pineview Reservoir and over Monte Cristo into Wyoming. From Evanston I headed for the Mirror Lake Highway and a beautiful ride through the Uinta Mountains and home.
Unfortunately, there was a casualty on the highway. Sometime around 3:00 pm, a motorcyclist and his wife crossed the center line and hit another automobile head on. Accidents happen, but two fatalities marred what was an otherwise beautiful day to ride for that family. The local news hasn't shared many details about the crash, but it has caused me to evaluate what I do to stay safe on the road.
My heartfelt condolences go out to those who lost loved ones.
I'm certain the thought of an accident probably wasn't on their mind as they traveled through the canyon. Being about an hour behind them, I was enjoying the cool, crisp air and the scenery myself. I wasn't thinking much about the risks associated with a narrow, winding canyon road.
Planing for risk is an important part of a successful day on the road. Even though there is an increased level of risk associated with riding a motorcycle I don’t intent to stop riding, but I do try the best I can to prepare for and mitigate the risk.
Here are a couple of suggestions that might help you mitigate project risk:
- Identify the risks associated with the project before it’s begun: All too often when projects are proposed, stakeholders are looking through rose-colored glasses. Although I think it’s important (maybe even vital in today’s economy) to look for projects that will provide potential value to the organization, ignoring the associated risks is very dangerous. If a project is presented for consideration and no risks are identified, that project sponsor should be introduced to a rather large river in Egypt.
- Craft and follow a comprehensive mitigation plan: Although much of this work should be done before a project is approved, in the real world that doesn’t always happen. What’s more, it may be up to you to look at the identified risks and spend some brainpower on creating a reasonable mitigation plan. Considering a few “what if” scenarios is always a good idea. Engage the project sponsor in this process so that he or she feels a little skin in the game. Realize that you may need to do some education, as most project sponsors don’t really understand their role and will need a little guidance.
- Don’t let risk paralyze you: Sometimes it’s easy to be so worried about risk that you never do anything creative. Avoid falling into the trap of doing what’s “safe” to keep out of trouble. “Safe” can usually be equated with low value, which doesn’t do any good for you or your project.
It's important to take risk seriously. There is always something that could go wrong. Facing the risk up front is always the best strategy—but that doesn't mean we should be paralyzed by risk. We should acknowledge it, prepare for it and work to mitigate the consequences as best we can.
How do you plan for and mitigate project risk?