Risky Business

stressed manIf projects, especially large-scale projects, are your business, you know that there is a certain amount of risk involved in getting to the finish line. So many things can go wrong! The wrong specs or plans can be inadvertently approved; the budget can be revised by a person without authorization; an outdated version of a file can be followed; work can be done without the proper permits; communication can break down among team members; cost increases can sneak up; certain people can be left out of hearing new, critical information; due dates might pass without notice; and unavoidable delays might cause changes that wreak havoc unless they are monitored and compensated for correctly.

Yes, there is plenty of risk for things to go wrong.  And sometimes when they do, the end result is a legal battle. Since you are in the business of making money, anything that interferes with, or eliminates, your profit–or (even worse) causes you to lose more money–should clearly be avoided. That is why “exception” management is so important, as Dennis pointed out last week.

There are two main ways to reduce risk:

  • Take proactive steps to deter or prevent undesirable events from happening in the first place,
  • Monitor and detect problems as soon as possible to take corrective actions before the problems escalate.

All that monitoring, detecting, and proactive managing is very time-consuming without the help of a proper project management system. So why would you do it all on your own when software can help significantly? For example, the Spitfire Project Management System can minimize risk in the following ways:

  • Documents are sent to all the proper people for review but only pre-approved individuals can approve documents, specs, plans, budgets, etc.,
  • Snapshots of all budget revisions are kept in the system so you can see who approved what change and when, and how all costs are affected,
  • Everyone on the team has access to the appropriate latest versions of documents and files so there are no mistakes or confusion,
  • Compliance requirements are tracked on the vendor and subcontract levels so no work is performed or paid if something is out of compliance,
  • Communication among team members, both through emails and on documents, is simplified and kept as part of the project’s permanent record, for better accountability,
  • Due dates are brought to your attention through alerts, so there are no surprises,
  • Change orders and corresponding budget changes are managed and documented, so nothing falls through the cracks and due dates are adjusted accordingly.

When you minimize risk, the number of “OH NO!” moments are reduced, and your stress level goes down.  Your project proceeds more smoothly, and you please your client, all while protecting your profit.

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