From the time we wake up until the next time we sleep, we are constantly faced with risks of one sort or another. Knowingly or not, our waking hours are spent trying to either eliminate or mitigate those risks.
Planning a wedding? Holding it indoors eliminates the risk of getting rained out; having umbrellas standing by mitigates the chance of drenched participants if it must be outdoors.
As a Project Director for C3i Solutions’ Training Services, my job requires me to add another “-ate” to the lexicon – anticipate. The two-year rollout of a new CRM software tool to over 25,000 end-users globally is not going to go as planned on Day One. That’s a given. What makes a huge difference in how smoothly those changes are accommodated is how well the bumps in the road are predicted and planning adjusted accordingly.
Developing training materials in parallel with the configuration of a cloud-based system requires careful management as the system evolves. Anticipating system changes requires timing critical training development final phases like screen capture and eLearning voice-over to coincide with the latest possible iteration of the environment.
Does the deployment include large-scale end-user training and simultaneous go-live sessions? Risk planning should include stress-testing for the anticipated load – both the Internet connectivity at the sites and the training environment server – to mitigate the chance of overloads. Hard-wire network connections for the trainers eliminates the dangers of spotty Wi-Fi disrupting the flow of a class.
As an inveterate cock-eyed optimist (of course my initial project plan will be accurate!), I really have to force myself to root out hidden (ok, sometimes blatantly obvious) sources of risk to a training project. Although I’ve learned from prior experiences what many of those risks are and have standing operating procedures to deal with many of them, I still want to believe at the start of every project that this one will be different. This one will go as planned. I don’t need a risk mitigation matrix!
And then a friend’s elaborately planned outdoor wedding gets hit by a Nor’easter…
Save the wedding, er, project.
Anticipate. Eliminate. Mitigate.
Oh, and don’t forget to communicate your plans to the project team and get their buy-in and understanding. There may be optimists among them who need a bit of enlightenment.