On the Subject of Brief Risk Management Guides



By Martin Hopkinson

2 March 2022

Ref: New PMWJ series of Brief Risk Management Guides

Dear Editor,

With four young grandchildren living nearby and a portfolio of other voluntary duties, I have decided to refocus my career on project Sunset. Having closed my business, I am now looking for a longer term means of enabling access to one of its resources, a collection of risk management guidance sheets. You have kindly agreed to publish an updated version of these in the PM World Journal. The plan is to publish one two-sided sheet each month, starting with one on Risk Identification.

The sheets are designed to be summaries focused on particular topics rather than being detailed guidance instructions or to, collectively, form a complete guide to project risk management. Such approaches have been covered by many other sources, including guides produced by the Project Management Institute (PMI) and the Association for Project Management (APM). My guidance sheets are, instead, aimed at filling a gap in the market for easily digestible insights, hints and tips. I have also often used them when working with clients.

In creating this materiel, I have followed two golden rules:

Lived experience: I have used all of the tools and techniques covered in the sheets and have only described methods that I think to have been useful. Similarly, where there are words of caution or advice on limitations, I have witnessed all of the associated mistakes.

No simple “best way”: All projects are different and most projects go through different phases. Given this and that my view is that risk management is a response to the implications of uncertainty (i.e. lack of certainty), I believe that no single approach, tool or technique can be the best one to use in all circumstances.

No chef would recommend a single cooking method for all dishes. By analogy, no organisation should expect to get the best results by following a single recipe when implementing a process to manage project risk, although it is surprising to see how many seem to do so. Instead, I believe that much the art of project risk management lies in following sound principles and making good choices. Accordingly, I recommend not choosing tools and techniques until, as a minimum, after understanding the project’s purposes and context and identifying what matters most.


To read entire Letter to the Editor, click here

How to cite this work: Hopkinson, M. (2022). On the Subject of Brief Risk Management Guides, Letter to the Editor, PM World Journal, Vol. XI, Issue III, March. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/pmwj115-Mar2022-Hopkinson-brief-risk-management-guides-Letter-to-Editor.pdf