A world in which all projects succeed, but not without risk management

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I’m sure that APM members could, and do, argue for many hours about the concept of project success - what it means and whether it’s valid or even useful talk about it. 

On a similar vein I was part of a discussion at a Change Management Institute session in July where the popular myth that there is real evidence that 70% of all change initiatives fail, was exposed and debated.  At that session we discussed how most projects are at the same time both wildly successful and spectacularly disappointing, and everything in between, depending on the point of view of different stakeholders. 

Understanding stakeholder points of view is vital if we are to make good decisions when investing in project-based change, and then secure the delivery of those decisions. Nobody tends to argue with this point, but I am often surprised when the link between stakeholder engagement and risk analysis and management is not made.

When pulling together a business case and making the decision on how much to invest and when we need to understand perceptions of what is risky, and why. In order to guide and protect delivery we need to understand what might happen that could deflect us from plan, and we need to understand the uncertainties that exist when we are evaluating and making decisions in the light of emergent change.

If we need to understand stakeholder points of view and we need to understand perceptions of risk when planning a project, why have two conversations? Perhaps over the coming weeks you could observe how many opportunities there are to engage stakeholders and discuss risk in the same conversation.


APM North West Branch event - A world in which all projects succeed - but not without risk management - Monday 10th October 2016, Cheshire.

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Posted by RuthMurray-Webster on 1st Sep 2016

About the Author

Ruth is currently Director, Change Portfolio and Group Head of Risk at Associated British Ports where, for 50% of her time, she is responsible for coordinating the approval and delivery of an ambitious portfolio of change to processes, systems, behaviours and ways of working. In the rest of her time Ruth provides leading-edge risk and change consultancy services via her company Potentiality UK.  Prior to this appointment, Ruth was Director of the Risk in the Boardroom practice for KPMG LLP following 10 years as a Director of Lucidus Consulting Ltd. Her work on risk appetite and risk attitude with David Hillson is widely published. Her doctoral research focused on the accomplishment of planned change from the perspective of the recipients of change rather than change agents. Ruth was awarded Honorary Fellowship of APM in 2013 for her contributions to risk and change.

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