What is risk management?
Risk management is an essential part of good management practice and features prominently on the agendas of senior managers and education bodies. Whilst risk management applies to all areas of organisational activity its relevance is particularly clear in relation to projects, particularly projects with an IT or systems component. It is probably fair to say that risk management is the single most important component of project management. This infokit complements others such as Managing Strategic Activity, Programme Management and Project Management and gives a focus on managing risk as part of a methodical approach.
Why is risk management important?
Risk management is fundamentally about making better decisions. In education, as in any other environment, you can’t decide not to take risks: that simply isn’t an option in today’s world. All of us take risks and it’s a question of which risks we take. This infokit will help you evaluate your own approach to risk and give you some practical suggestions on how to manage the risks you do take.
How can we manage risk?
By understanding what ‘risk’ means, the spectrum of differing attitudes towards risk, and a basic process framework for managing risk, we can not only mitigate against unwanted risks but turn challenges to opportunities. This resource covers some basic ground rules and approaches, and provides some templates to get you started and enable you to tailor the approach to be fit for your purposes.
Definitions of risk
In most project management methodologies, risk tends to be viewed in a very negative sense. It is generally defined in terms of something that might occur to adversely affect you achieving your goals. Here we’d like to broaden that definition out a little and suggest that risk may not always have an adverse impact. Let’s just say that risk is not necessarily something going wrong – it is simply something turning out differently to how you expected or planned for. This view allows the possibility that risks can be turned into opportunities if managed effectively.
To be a bit more specific, risk is: ‘A future event (or series of events) with a probability of occurrence and the potential for (a) loss or (b) impact on objectives that can be either positive or negative.’ It is therefore more accurate to say that this infokit is not just about risk management rather it is concerned with risk and opportunity management.