Friday, 8 August 2014

"Fall under a Bus" Resource Risk Analysis

At various times in both Project planning and execution you may need to make a worse case risk assessment across your team. You need to look across the team answering the question, "how will we cope if person "x" is suddenly not available?" Without trying to be too macabre, I like to focus attention by calling it a "Fall under a bus" assessment!

"Fall under a Bus" Project Resource Risk Assessments

General approach to assessment and contingency planning

Look for weak points in your Project Team organisation in regard of the "fall under bus" scenario. You may have Single Points of Dependency (SPODs) in the team. I typically will raise specific risks for SPODs. 

Then as part of the Risk Management strategy you need to decide how to address? Sometimes you can introduce a deputy or "number 2" for SPODs, sometimes budget constraints mean that your management strategy is to Accept the risk. It may be worth highlighting these in your Project Definition if assessed during Initiation or Status Report if assessed during Project execution.

Example - IT Implementation Planning

A specific example for "under a bus" Resource Risk assessment is regarding IT Implementation events. Here your Team under assessment is the people you will need to involve (typically out of hours) to undertake the implementation and live proving of the change.

I write this post as I am planning a rather large change with only one decent change window available per year due to the length of time the change will take. It will also require a significant team working 24 hours a day over several days. For this I have developed a specific spreadsheet to help aid assessment and record decision making.
"Fall under bus" Resource Risk spreadsheet example
By scoring each person involved in the implementation for importance to the event and a score for the likelihood of not being available and multiplying and sorting the list it gives focus on the assessment. The Risk Management approach may be:
  • Eliminate Risk - swap out resource
  • Cross skill team - with documentation and practices as necessary so someone else could pick up certain tasks in the worst case scenario
  • Substitute contingency - similar to cross skill except that the person will only be involved if the main person is unavailable
  • Increasing resources - in key areas
  • Transfer risk - involve a 3rd party who has a bigger pool of resources to cater for such circumstances but you should assess the risk related to the specific implementation approach being used
  • Accept risk


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