Interview with Val Jonas


Let’s Get the Risk Intelligence Ball Rolling

Interview with Val Jonas

CEO, Risk Decisions Group Global
United Kingdom

Interviewed by Yu Yanjuan
Journalist, Project Management Review: PMR (China)
International Correspondent, PM World Journal

Introduction to the interviewee

Val Jonas is now CEO of Risk Decisions Group Global (www.riskdecisions.com). Val is a highly skilled risk management expert, with extensive experience of training, facilitating and implementing project, programme, product and business risk management systems for government and industry in the UK, EMEA, North America and APAC regions. With more than 30 years’ experience working with large organisations, Val has a wealth of practical experience and vision for how they can improve business performance through risk management framework and good practice.

Val played a major part in the design and development of the “Risk Decisions’ Predict!” Enterprise Risk Management software. In order to spread good/best practice risk management, Val authors white papers, speaks at international conferences, sits on international working groups and is an advocate of collaborative working. She has been involved in roles of professional associations, such as PMI Risk Practice Standard chapter coordinator, APM Risk SIG member. She is the author of the Risk Intelligence (RQ) series of white papers. The following interview is based on the The Snowball Effect Whitepaper


Q1.      What is The Snowball Effect Whitepaper mainly about? And why is the Whitepaper named “The Snowball Effect”?

Val Jonas (Jonas):     The Snowball Effect is a fun concept we developed during the early stages of planning the Whitepaper (the second in a series focusing on Risk Intelligence – RQ). The main theme of The Snowball Effect is the importance of Middle Managers in making good risk-based decisions that in turn, support successful outcomes for their organization.

Why is it named “The Snowball Effect”? A snowball grows in size as it rolls down a hill and can have a negative effect if you let it get out of control – turning into an avalanche. But a joined-up, functioning organization can use the Snowball Effect to its advantage, gathering information and knowledge to make well-informed risk-based decisions.

In the situation today, we can look at it in two ways:

  • Negative: Risk and uncertainty don’t occur in simple discreet ways. More typically, a series of cause-and-effect events lead to an unexpected outcome or consequence. With the snowball effect, any one thing is probably not going to cause catastrophe, but added together, they can cause an avalanche.
  • Positive: Human beings are amazing problem solvers, as long as we put our minds to it and work together. The critical mass for this to happen is at Middle Management level, where people are making significant decisions on a daily basis.

By connecting risk and pooling ideas, we can gather the momentum needed to achieve our goals. If we can get good risk-based decisions flowing through the middle layer of our organizations, we will better inform our senior managers (who want up-to-date information on both problems and their planned solutions). At the same time, at the coalface, the workforce can feel confident that they are part of a successful organization and effectively go about their daily operations.

Q2.      In your opinion, what are the characteristics of modern risk?


To read entire interview, click here

Editor’s note: This interview was first published in PMR, Project Management Review magazine, China.  It is republished here with the permission of PMR. The PM World Journal maintains a cooperative relationship with PMR, periodically republishing works from each other’s publications. To see the original interview with Chinese introduction, visit PMR at http://www.pmreview.com.cn/english/

How to cite this interview: PMR (2021). Let’s Get the Risk Intelligence Ball Rolling: Interview with Val Jonas; Project Management Review; republished in the PM World Journal, Vol. X, Issue XI, November. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/pmwj111-Nov2021-Yanjuan-Interview-with-Val-Jonas.pdf

About the Interviewer

Yu Yanjuan

Beijing, China


Yu Yanjuan (English name: Spring), Bachelor’s Degree, graduated from the English Department of Beijing International Studies University (BISU) in China. She is now an English-language journalist and editor working for Project Management Review (PMR) Magazine and website. She has interviewed over sixty top experts in the field of project management. Before joining PMR, she once worked as a journalist and editor for other media platforms in China. She has also worked part-time as an English teacher in training centers in Beijing. Beginning in January 2020, Spring also serves as an international correspondent for the PM World Journal.

For work contact, she can be reached via email yuyanjuan2005@163.com  or LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/yanjuanyu-76b280151/.

To view other works by Spring, visit her author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/yu-yanjuan/