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Project Plan and Risks Response John Constance MSc in Project Management, University of Liverpool Abstract The project

management plan provides the tools and techniques for the project team to execute, monitor and control the project. It includes the project scope, schedule, requirements, schedule, costs, quality, resource, communication, change, procurement and risk. This requires defining the project scope and goals, building a WBS, develop periodic plan reviews, identify any constraints, risks or time-critical issues and taking the preventive or corrective actions to achieve the project goals, and updating the project management plan based on the components modified. This paper will identify the areas of a project plan more likely to be affected by risk responses. It will explain how risk responses affect the different areas of a project plan and give example of a situation in which a highly perceptible risk response plan can be created by listing the possible risk responses and giving reasons why the risk response plan would have a high impact on the project plan. There will also be discussion on how to manage the changes in the project plan. Risk Response The business dictionary defines risk response as the appropriate steps taken or procedures implemented upon discovery of an unacceptably high degree of exposure to one or more risk. According to Sanghera (2010 pp. 213), the central task in risk response is to minimize threats and maximize opportunities to meet project objectives. This plan is developed and managed to ensure all identified risks are avoided, transferred, mitigated or shared, exploited and enhanced. The risk response must be appropriate, agreed upon, realistic, cost effective and owned. Risk response input item includes the risk management plan and risk register. The tools and techniques used are strategies for both negative and positive risks, contingencies and expert judgment, and the output are updates to the risk register, project management plan, risk-related contract documents and other project documents including scope statement and other technical documents. Areas of a Project Plan more likely to be affected by Risk Responses According to Karsten Reincke (myPmps- 2006-2009), risk response planning is the process for developing options and actions to enhance opportunities, and to reduce threats to project objectives. Therefore, the areas of the project plan more likely to be affected by risk response include the Scope, Schedule, Cost, and Quality. Other affected areas may include Human Resource and Procurements as changes in quality can have impact or require change personnel and purchase orders or contracts and their values respectively. Risk Responses affect in the different areas of a Project Plan A project plan is a formal, approved document used to guide both project execution and project control. (PMBOK, 2004 Edition). Its primary use is to document planning assumptions and

decisions facilitate communication among stakeholders, and document approved scope, cost, and schedule baselines. Project plan explains how and when project's objectives are to be achieved and the major products, milestones, activities and resources required for this. At times the project plan is referred to as a Gantt chart or a document displaying the project activities along a timeline. The project plan provides questions to be answered during execution, and monitoring and control. These include: Why is the problem addressed by the project being sponsored? What work or major products or deliverables will be performed on the project? Who will be involved and what will be their responsibilities within the project? How will they roles in the project be organized? When will the project timeline be complete?

These questions and their answers will be evaluated and measured to determine if the project performance did in fact achieve the project objectives, hence the project plan. The risk response affect in the different areas of the project plan is determined by the risk response planning process. This includes the following (Sanghera 2010 pp.197): Scope this includes the WBS and may require addition or reduction to tasks, activities, resources or efforts crucial to executing the risk response. Schedule this may have a positive impact reducing project duration estimates, or there may be a negative impact wherein the project duration must be increased. Cost this includes the budget and may create a positive impact reducing probably the risk response cost or may be negative if costs for other project objectives or requirements may be required in order to execute the risk response. Quality this includes quality assurance and quality control. There may be required new techniques not cognizant to any of the project team members and therefore requires changes in product assembly, changes in warranties or human resource plan.

Situation in which a highly perceptible risk response plan can be created and reasons why the risk response plan would have a high impact on the project plan I have the opportunity to work with organizations and companies that implement risk management plans including risk response on projects. These projects were very sensitive as regards to quality and time due to the nature or implementation. In Indonesia the UNICEFs recovery objective was to build back better schools and health centers making quality the key project objective. However, because of time and budget limitations, simulations were not conducted to prove that project design models were in fact realistically proven satisfactory. The project ran the risk of not performing to targeted earthquake resistance because structural integrity were not tested in real-life situation, as buildings could only be proven structurally qualified if it did undergo earthquake of the project targeted magnitude requirements. Therefore our team had to plan risk response for both threats and opportunities. The threat response strategy was mitigation through adopting less complex processes and conducting more tests on the product or service of the project (Sanghera 2010

pp. 215), that is, the environment such as the site soil and building components including such as concrete materials and composites. Also, because the government was developing new design standards for buildings including schools and health centers, UNICEF risk response was to take advantage of development by enhancing governments earthquake response capabilities through the provision of expert participation in the development of new rules including formulas and functions in building design and construction and supporting public media services to local r communities to basic earthquake awareness and evacuation drills. In South Sudan, quality and time were key project objectives to complete finished works on one particular project the 45 Km flood dike in central South Sudan. Our team realized there was not enough local expertise to do the works through direct community effort of cash-for-work and the timeframe to complete the works before the incoming rains and very-sure-of increasing in water levels and flooding from the river Nile would not be possible under the present overall project objective of community empowerment. Therefore, the only risk response action to transfer the risk by getting the client and governments approval to subcontract the works to a professional and experience construction engineering and equipment company by making payments of risk premium to not only cover the scope of works but also rehabilitate any defects six months after the end of the project and another six months after the flood season. How to manage the changes in the Project Plan I have never undertaken a project, as manager or team member, without changes occurring during the life of the project. From my experience, projects are implemented over a constrained period of time and are a cycle of new circumstance and therefore new conditions. Also, no matter the high-tech equipment or machines and devised used in a project, projects are in reality the execution of processes by human resources whim by nature always have new ideas, recognizes mistakes and make constant change of mind and attitude. This makes it impossible for any project to proceed without a management plan for changes. My projects over the years, as I would think all projects are the combination of the scope statement, WBS, schedule, costs and quality, including other plans to create the project management plan. However, the quadruple constraints of scope, schedule, cost and quality are the baselines to managing projects and any changes to these constraints definitely affects one if not all the other constraints. Therefore to manage changes to the project plan would be to consider the following, as advised by Stephen Yahus in his article project management strategies series 3 managing change ( would be to have an approved and agreed upon change management plan that includes Clear criteria for when the change management process is required, roles and responsibilities and simple way to request change, conduct change impact assessment, explore alternatives, make final decision and incorporate the change and update the project plan. From my experience this is only possible if the following activities are planned and managed: Reporting - a standard reporting format on project performance s developed to include information of project scope, time, cost, quality and other issues. This report gives the project team the opportunity to measure planned performance against actual performance and take the necessary actions to ensure the project objectives are achieved. Communication the report and any other pertinent issues such as risks, assumptions and other constraints are reported to the project stakeholders on a weekly basis. This

communication should include charts, diagrams and or matrixes that clearly explain project risks, the response plans and resultant changes to the project plan. Project Team Awareness and Training all reports and communications must e shared and discussed with project team members and other staff; and if training for improvements are necessary this should be provided as much and as possible. Conclusion Risk management plan is key aspect ensuring projects are implemented successfully and project objectives are achieved. Risk management is both a threat and an opportunity that must be managed by the project manager and his team. Quality control, risk monitoring and control are used to measure work performance and manage and control changes in projects; and all changes in projects must be formally requested, approved and implemented, and the project management plan be updated accordingly. This is a very important strategy, tool and technique to use for the successful management of a project. .

Reference Sanghera, P. (2010) PMP in depth: project management professional study guide for the PMP exam. 2nd ed. Boston: Course Technology/Cengage Learning. Karsten Reincke (myPmps- 2006-2009), PMBOK Guide, 3rd ed, 2004 Stephen Yahus (Project Management Strategies Series Article 3 - Managing Change