Making Risk Responses for PMP Fun
One of my favorite parts about the exam is responding to risk. It should be a favorite of yours, too. We will first look at the PMI’s risk response options, then we will explore a fun way to recall these responses. These definitions are from the PMBOK 5th Edition, pg 344-346.
Strategies for risk opportunities:
1. Exploit – The organization wants to make sure that the opportunity is realized. This strategy aims to eliminate uncertainty associated with a particular upside-risk by making sure the opportunity actually happens.
2. Enhance – To increase the likelihood and/or positive effects of an opportunity.
3. Share – This is the act of allocating some or all ownership to someone who is most likely to benefit from the opportunity.
4. Acceptance – Being open to the possibility, but not actively seeking it.
Strategies to deal with risk threats
1. Do not ignore the threat.
2. Transfer – To shift the threat’s impact to another party and to take responsibility for the response. To delegate responsibility for the management of a situation to another party.
3. Reduce the risk – reduce the likelihood of an event or its impact.
4. Accept – This is a decision to accept the risk and not to take any action until the risk has occurred.
Let’s have some fun! Let’s use familiar scenarios to associate these strategies. What about the time you met “The Girl” at a party?
Scenario 1 – There is an opportunity! What is the best response strategy to help her move into a relationship?
1. Exploit – I will do whatever it takes to get her number. I will ask her for her number. If she doesn’t give me the right one I will get it from someone else.
2. Enhance – I will order her the same drink, walk in her vicinity, and maybe even give her a wink.
3. Share – I will send a trusted wingman to talk to her.
4. Accept – If she would like to come over to speak with me, then I will.
Scenario #2- A threat appears! What is the best strategy to ensure that my time doesn’t get wasted?
1. Avoid – I should leave this party.
2. Transfer – I should give my friend a few dollars so she can dance with me and take up my time.
3. Mitigate – I can hide behind some people to try and keep her from seeing me.
4. Accept – If she approaches me to speak to me, I will not associate with her.
But don’t worry! But we are not done yet. After we have planned a response, we need go back to quantify the risk scenario in order to ensure that the situation meets the standards of our Risk Management Plan. What will I accept?
I could be exposed to a secondary risk. This is a risk that results from a response. What if I bring a wingman to the share opportunity that she likes better than me?
I could have too many residual risks, which is the risk that remains after preparing a response. What if I can’t mitigate the threat but still have a high chance of being found? Perhaps I should then take additional steps to reduce the likelihood by wearing a hat, dark glasses, and a cap.
To reserve influence, I could make a contingency plan. If she approaches me to discuss the threat, I can use my cellphone to interfere. Hey, there’s something!
My Plan B is a fallback plan. It is used to provide a backup plan in case a response is not effective. If my plans to increase the opportunity don’t catch her attention, I will have a fallback plan to buy them a drink.
After reading this, I hope you find risk-taking more enjoyable in the future.
Author – Gregory Morrow