The 2019 APM Risk SIG Conference; Influencing the Future through Risk Management

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We live in increasingly uncertain times. Delivering a wide variety of complex projects across multiple industries, project, programme, portfolio managers and risk practitioners are using risk management to influence the outcomes of their for the better.

Sometimes, risk management is likened to reading a ‘crystal ball’; the ability to look into the future. This conference sought to explore the different tools, techniques and insights that enable project practitioners to influence the future of their projects, to drive organisation industry and economic performance. In addition to discussing current best practice from a range of outlooks, our SIG’s 2019 conference looked to the future and the approaches to risk management that may await us there.

The conference was opened by Dr David Hancock from the Infrastructure and Projects Authority as the keynote speaker.  David spoke about the effects of complicated v complex and behavioural impacts on project delivery and risk management.  In dealing with ‘wicked’ projects there is often not an optimal solution so there has to be acceptance then the solution is the best that be achieved in the time/budget.  David closed his presentation with the model to resolve wicked problems; key points were building and nurturing high performance teams and having diversity of though within those teams.

After the key note delegates had the option to attend a number of different themed sessions:

Risk innovation – Covering increasing awareness of risk and extended the horizons over which risk is considered.  Building resilience into project activities to deal with ‘unknown-unknowns’.  Using artificial intelligence to analyse complex project schedules looking for the some of the artefacts of Risk a human/classical analyse would miss. 

Infra structure risk – Speakers from Network Rail and HS2.  One session covered optimism bias in planning and risk management and the other looked at combining planning and risk management and carrying that out as an agile field based activity to make the decision process as relevant as possible.

Risk in the supply chain – looked into the flow down of risk to the supply chain, and ensuring that the supply chain is mature enough in its approach to risk.  These sessions covered the process of using a risk management maturity model to bench mark against, and case studies of that.

Cyber risk and risk visualisation – The first of these sessions covered risk management in the rapidly changing environment of cyber risk; where risks and even the whole risk context can change in timescales of days and weeks.  The second session was concerned with different ways of presenting risk data such that it can be better understood and actions.

Business case risk – This session covered the strategic level risks that need to be considered in the drafting of business cases as well as the risks pertinent to the business case process.

Human factors – This was a look at all the human factors of risk.  Covering risks that arise for the human angle of projects to how humans process risk information and interact with the risk process.

Throughout the day exhibitors were available for the delegates to meet and discuss with.  The exhibitors included:

Sword Active Risk, Headline sponsor
Risk Decisions

The conference closed with a group discussion session where a selection of the speakers took questions from the conference.  Questions covered a wide range of topics concerning risk management such as advice on how to get into risk management as a profession and how to manage all stakeholders when the solutions being proposed are from a time-boxed process rather than an optimal solution.

After that the conference was brought to a close by the APM Risk SIG Chair, Derek Wright, who thanked the speakers and delegates for giving up their time and making the conference interesting and lively as well as thanking the APM for their technical support and Sword Active Risk for sponsoring the conference.


Derek Wright
APM Risk SIG Chair

Posted on 2nd May 2019
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