Project risk management software is a tool for business that helps you identify, track, manage and close out risks to your projects, programs and portfolio. Normally installed and managed from the PMO, it’s used by project managers and their teams, plus other project delivery professionals in your organization and executives who want to see the big picture.
Tools like Primavera P6 allow you to do deep analysis of project risk, linked back to the tasks and resources of the project. It’s part of an integrated approach to managing risk at the enterprise level. But what’s the value of investing in software to do this? Here are five reasons why you should be considering project risk management software for your business.
1. Improves Reliability
Spreadsheets just aren’t good enough any longer. Emailing them around the business is confusing. Who has the latest version? But two people just updated the latest version and emailed it back to the PMO manager – with conflicting opinions! Keeping your project risk management records on paper, or even in spreadsheets, the electronic version of paper, isn’t reliable.
You lose transparency. People find it hard to work together, and keeping the risk log up-to-date becomes something only the PMO can do. That breaks down the idea that risk management is a cultural shift that everyone in the organization should be aware of and feel like they can contribute to.
Enterprise risk management software lets you consolidate risks in one place. It’s always representative of the latest situation and can be updated by anyone, as long as they are authorized to do so. It underpins a risk management culture across a project delivery organization and makes it easy for executives to get reliable information in just a few clicks.
2. Keeps Everyone Up-to-Date
There’s nearly always someone out of the office for something: whether it’s a longer term reason like maternity leave or short-term reasons like a vacation or overseas business trip. When they come back, they’ll want to know what the latest situation is with the organizational risk profile.
When you’ve got project risk management software, they can easily see the portfolio level risks, or risks relating to just their area. All the business context and history is right there, so it’s easy to refresh their memories of how this risk has evolved over time.
On a much smaller scale, it’s also useful when someone misses a meeting. Rather than have to try to remember what went on, or trawl through the minutes, they can check the status of their risk management actions in the tool, and update it there and then with their latest information. Even better, they can do that before the meeting so that their colleagues can continue the risk management discussion with accurate data while they are out.
3. Creates Organizational Memory
Your ‘organizational memory’ is information the business knows. The more you can digitize and store in a searchable format, the easier it is to manage when the experienced staff move into retirement. You’re capturing knowledge out of their head and making it available for other staff members to use so the knowledge doesn’t leave the business when they do. And that goes for staff leaving for other reasons too: the higher your turnover in project roles, the more you are going to want to capture what individuals know before your organization loses that hard-won information.
Project risk management software means you can store the history of all your projects risks in one place. It’s searchable. It’s archived. And you can learn from the risk management activities on past projects. This is especially important where your company runs similar or repeatable initiatives over time, like office refurbs or new product launches. With your risk history stored, you can easily see what risks caused issues, what mitigation activities worked and what didn’t. You’ll be able to make better risk decisions based on your organizational memory.
4. Easier Sharing
More and more teams are relying on collaboration, and why not? It’s understood that the wisdom of crowds is better than the judgement of a single executive in the corner office. But it’s hard to collaborate on risk management when you’re all vying to access and update a spreadsheet.
Using project risk management software means you can all see and work on the record. It makes it easier to collaborate and work as a team to deal with the risks facing projects and the business overall.
If you do need to download a snapshot of the risk log, you can export the latest version of your data easily.
5. Better Security
Finally, there’s no escaping the fact that spreadsheets aren’t secure. The more complicated the spreadsheet, the more likely it is that someone will accidentally edit a formula. Even if the ‘important’ cells are locked out, spreadsheets simply don’t have the back up functionality and configuration management options built into enterprise risk management tools.
Using project risk management software to track and manage your risks gives you better security features. You can limit who has the ability to change what, so that the right people have access to the data. That’s far better than trying to maintain a mailing list for sending it out on email!
You can revoke their access when they leave the company, which helps you stay compliant with information security policies. And everything is backed up for you on your network or the cloud.
If you are trying to manage enterprise risk with spreadsheets, it’s time to think again!