Risk assessment is clearly an art I haven’t entirely mastered yet, but even at my novice stage it’s helpful, primarily because it gets you thinking about what you’ll do in the case of an imminent failure. It puts the possibility of failure on the table, and forces you to talk it over with your supervisor, your stakeholders, and your team. Even when you don’t anticipate the particular risk you end up facing, you’ve probably brainstormed enough mitigating and contingent actions that it won’t take you long to construct a new one on the fly. It also introduces the tools and language to kill your project when it’s limping toward failure, since you have built in all the parachute points at an early stage.
I had to shelve the project the model risk assessment in the video was written for in the face of a risk I did not anticipate. It’s still not a failure; it’s just shelved until the risk event is past. The team were grateful when I raised the issue and suggested shelving it, because it saved everyone the pain of a public flop. No hard feelings! These things happen! We will regroup at a later date!
Download this tool and use it; make a better video than I did!