Managing Risks and Opportunities

Washington DC snowWashington DC is in the process of getting 20-30 inches of snow, over the next 24 hours.  The forecast hasn't changed all week.  If anything, it's gotten worse!  At no time did the weather service say this weather event was going to miss us.  The Beltway has been in the cross-hairs of this system since the computer models discovered its formation.   That leads me to write about risks and opportunities.  Actually, for today, it's just risks.  When working on a larger project, you should always have a discovery session early on that will capture potential risks and opportunities.  Once these events are identified, you should quantify their values.  You'll also want to capture the probability of each. Once you've captured a risk (or opportunity), its value, and its probability, you'll know better if you'll be planning acceptance, avoidance, mitigation, or transference.  I'll save that process and definitions for a later time.  Right now, I want to talk about snow.

Yesterday at the meeting I hosted, we discussed our contingency plan for today.  Even before the meeting, we knew we were going to get hit with this weather system and it would impact the schedule.  This was no longer a risk but an issue.  The issue was relevant because our vendor has a contract deliverable due today.  Inclement weather was not annotated in their risk register so it was up to us tell them how this would play out.

Though I know you can't foresee all possible issues which may occur over the course of a project, you should make an honest attempt to identify them in order to open a dialog with your stakeholders.  Local schools systems plan for snow days.  They have documented strategies to deal with these events because they've learned their lessons.  Shouldn't your projects as well?

This snow storm is going to mess with a lot of people and a lot of projects, over the course of the next few days.  I hope we all learn a lesson from it.

Has weather ever delayed your project or pushed it over budget?  I would love to hear about it.