Failure to Plan is Risky Business

This Skills Portal article highlighted the importance of planning and building some form of flexibility into construction plans to cater for uncertainties.

Planning is critical, but how do we deal with unforeseen events? A good plan incorporates elements of scheduling and risk management.

” We must build some form of flexibility into our plans to cater for uncertainty”, says Dennis Comninos, an international project management consultant.

“We do that by considering the risks a project faces.”

Comninos draws on his expertise in construction projects to offer some insights to new and seasoned project administrators.

According to Comninos a risk doesn’t necessarily have to be negative. It can disturb current plans but it can also present new possibilities.

The biggest defining factor of a risk is the element of uncertainty. This is also what makes it so hard to manage.

“Risk is measured in terms of consequences and likelihood.” In other words project administrators need to determine the probability of the event from occurring and the affect such an event would have on the project. This is referred to as the ‘risk profile’.

Using the generic risk management process allows administrators to create a risk profile.

The first step in this process is to identify possible risks. “Risk is a human element,” says Comninos Identifying these probabilities actually requires people to take time out and think of potential scenarios.

This can be done by using checklists, drawing from past experiences, conducting environmental scanning or brainstorming.

There are many external factors that could affect the project. For instance project administrators need to consider social, political, economic, technological, organisational and even legal changes in the country.

Comninos provides a break down of the key techniques, models and phases of planning and administration within the construction sector.

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