At Hart Square we have the privilege of working with amazing and inspirational clients who are implementing a range of new technologies from CRM to website. A key strand for any organisation when approaching a technology project should be to understanding the risks associated with a technology project and how to put in place a strategy to mitigate these from impacting the project.
Here are some of the key risks that organisations should be aware of when undertaking a technology project and the most effective way to manage risk and minimise any disruption.
3 common digital project risks
A key risk on any technology project is not having a clearly defined scope. Without a clearly defined scope you will not be able to track and measure deliverables which makes it very difficult for any organisation to ensure a successful outcome. To mitigate against this, it’s very important to work with your technology partner to have the scope clearly documented in a functional specification. This will allow you to track what is being delivered and understand that any deviation away from this will impact your project budget.
It’s very important to have the right project team in place with clearly defined roles and responsibilities with the appropriate skillset. Before undertaking any new project, it’s vitally important to have your project lead, project sponsor, data lead, key subject matter experts (SME) and depending on the nature of your project, a product owner. By establishing this framework with everyone clear on their role, it will avoid delays caused by a lack of decision making and ensure the project can be driven forward.
Ensuring that you have a clear idea of the project budget before undertaking a project is incredibly important. The budget needs to be realistic for what you are trying to deliver and if you are working with a smaller budget, then the functionality that will be delivered will reflect that. Crucially, ensure you have a contingency budget in place for any change requests that emerge throughout the project lifecycle, typically your contingency should be 10% of your initial project budget.
How to manage project risks
There will always be risks throughout any technology project and it’s important not to panic, having lots of risks identified is a good thing and having a strategy to manage and track them will put you in a great place to ensure they do not become more serious and have a detrimental impact on the project outcome.
Importance of a risk register
The key document to track them is the risk register, this is a framework to effectively manage all risks that occur, provides a clear structure to track them and put in place the necessary mitigations.
Taking a proactive approach to risks will minimise them emerging into issues and working at the start of the project to identify those threats is very important. The risk register isn’t something that should remain static and should be regularly reviewed, updated as new risks emerge and others are closed.
Everyone is responsible
It’s not just the responsibility of the project manager to raise risks, everyone in the project team needs to be focused on identifying risks and raising them if they are relevant. When identifying risks, think of the probability and how likely is the event and what could possibly happen to harm the project. The key is in then ensuring what can be put in place as a mitigation to stop this risk from occurring.
In summary, there will always be risks that happen in any project and it’s important to understand this before embarking on any technology project. By being proactive at the start of a project and putting in place those mitigations, you will be in a much stronger place to deliver a successful project. Effective risk management is essential and it’s the responsibility of everyone to contribute to this from the project sponsor to the SME’s.