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Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Risk Management - An Action Plan

If a risk analysis exercise is to be meaningful, it needs to result in an action plan to mitigate the prioritised risks.  Defining and implementing the action plan is the last of four steps introduced in the previous post - Risk Management - Analysis to Action.

Having identified, assessed and prioritised the risks, next consider and define a mitigation plan for each risk.  Summarise the risk strategy (Reduce; Share; Accept; Avoid), what will be done and how it will be achieved.  Guided by the mitigation plan now define, assign and schedule the actions necessary to deliver the plan.

This can be achieved using mapping software - always great for brainstorming and creativity. 

List the risks as level 1 topics or branches.  Attach key attributes of the risk to each of these topics or branches, using icons or category markers, for instance:

  • A marker for Likelihood and another for Impact
  • A marker for status or progress
  • Assign an owner using a label or task resource
  • Capture the mitigation plan summary as a sub-topic.

For each risk, next add the list of actions that will deliver the mitigation plan.  Assign resources and dates to these and you have a simple plan.

To get an idea of what this might look like in practice, here is one approach using MindGenius.  This illustration use as simple template map.

Click to see full size image - opens in a new window 

To start, first add the risks at level 1 and add the attributes using Categories and Task markers.

Click to see full size image - opens in a new window

Next add the summary of the mitigation plan.

Click to see full size image - opens in a new window

Then add the actions with resources and dates assigned.

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A simple example for a change management programme looks like this.

Click to see full size image - opens in a new window

You now have several choices as to how to publish the plan and maintain it over time, for instance you may:

  • use the MindGenius map as is to review progress and maintain the actions
  • use the MindGenius Gantt feature
  • export the map to MS Project and integrate with the overall project schedule
  • export to MS Excel.

Here  is the example map as a MindGenius Gantt chart ....

Click to see full size image - opens in a new window

.... and here is a MS Project plan.

Click to see full size image - opens in a new window

Exporting to Excel offers additional options, especially where communicating the plan to a project group not familiar with the other formats.  First step is to select 'Export to Microsoft Excel' and choose your options.  In the following example, the key options selected are:

  • 'Apply MindGenius styles' (the text formatting on the map will be applied to Excel - great if you have a preferred MindGenius template style)
  • 'Flat Export'.

Click to see full size image - opens in a new window

With these options selected, the template produces a spreadsheet that looks like this:-

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With a bit of formatting it looks even better ....

Click to see full size image - opens in a new window

A general word of warning - if you use any of the export options and the plan or document you are working with is likely to go through many iterations, try to resist formatting the output beyond anything simple and easy to replicate - you'll have to format it again every time you regenerate it from MindGenius or whichever tool you are using.

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imageThe images used in this post were created using MindGenius.  If you would like to know more about MindGenius, do visit the web site and try the product free for 30 days.

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