Risky Business | August 19, 2004

For those of you who may have missed my side bar posting earlier today, I just wanted to let folks know that my first article for Digital Web has just been published.

Entitled Risky Business, it outlines how good risk management can benefit designers and clients alike.

Posted at August 19, 2004 6:44 PM


Daniel Oliver said on August 19, 2004 10:42 PM

Great first article. This will be a very helpful article to refer back to while planning projects. You point out some problems that may be over looked by many.

Daniel Oliver.

entertainment news said on August 19, 2004 11:08 PM

Good information to know, especially about proper communication with clients.

Steve C. said on August 20, 2004 6:50 PM

Quite Nice for a fist article, a useful resource for project managers.

good work andy

Laura Carlson said on August 20, 2004 9:35 PM

Terrific article!

When a person identifies risks areas of a project and develops a contingency plan it can make life soooo much easier.

Scope creep, the expansion of a project beyond its original objectives is a big risk. Clients who don’t realize the ramifications can have a tendency to want to make individual changes and teeny modifications to projects, which can lead to budgetary increases and time delays. For instance just agreeing on a “look and feel” of a web site can take forever. The potential problem is that it all happens in such a sublet manner you seldom realize it is happening.

Status reports, issues lists, status meetings, and sign-offs all help keep the project on track. They are good ways to communicate with clients/stakeholders and give them feedback on progress. Using these tools will reduce the risk of major problems. Problems can be identified and resolved before they become critical. Having a clear definition of what is being asked can help you have power to control it. Keeping stakeholders and others involved by having them approve phase requirements and review any changes by generally flooding them with information is a good thing.

Also if you have a Gantt chart with key dates for deliverables that hinges on the client providing content (e.g. text, photos, etc. for a web site) in a set and timely manner, management tools like status reports, issues lists, contingency plans etc. will nudge them along. Clients often have an unrealistic view of what they have “ready to go” and also what items they may need to create. The myth is that content will arrive on time. A good thing to do in the status meetings is to include a content schedule plan as part of an issues list. Tie content that the client has specified that they will provide to a date that you would receive it. Make sure that they know that on-time delivery of content is crucial to maintaining the launch schedule.

Identifying potential risk and having contingency plans to deal with them can provide important safeguards. Risks can range from ones with high probability of having major impact on a project to ones with low probability and will not prove harmful, or just a minor nuisance.