Posted by tac_admin, February 11, 2015

Risk Assessments: the Surefire Methodology

chess gameRisk assessments. Your stakeholders need them…

And in your business analysis career, you need to create them in a clear and comprehensive way.

We’d all love a surefire methodology that guarantees a successful project, but that’s not going to happen overnight. To weigh all your variables on a project, you’ll need to create a solid risk assessment that reveals potential pitfalls before they become issues.

Both the business impact analysis and risk assessments are foundational. No question about that, but first it’s important to understand the difference between a BIA and a risk assessment.

A business impact analysis indicates the risk of downtime, whereas a risk assessment weighs the variables pertaining to deliverables.

For example: if you were performing a project for a restaurant, new software could temporarily shut down the franchise for training purposes. This is a BIA.

On the other hand, new software could temporarily impact sales, which constitutes a risk assessment.

With those important differences in mind, how do you create the most effective report of risks involved within a project? Here are 2 steps.

Concentrate on the big picture first. 

No pain, no gain, so they say. In any project you undertake in your BA career, there will be mitigated risk. When you focus on the big picture of a project, the risk becomes an element instead of a deal breaker.

For example: let’s say your client needs to upgrade their POS system, so that transactions take place faster, and with fewer buttons. The issue here is that employees will need to take time to learn how to use the new system, which could slow down business.

The big picture of this scenario is that, after the initial learning curve, sales will occur faster, and customers will be happier. Happy customers equal higher profits, and that’s the big picture goal.

Detail how you will minimize risk

In both the BIA and risk assessment outlines, it’s important to detail exactly how you plan to “minimize the growing pains.” If it’s an employee learning curve, offer time-tabled training plans. If your plan temporarily impacts sales, outline how the ROI will pay off under a certain timeframe.

Be very specific in risk minimization details. For example: sales will be impacted by 10% for the first month but will rise by 60% in the next 3 months.

Be prepared for every scenario…

Become the BA who has seen it all and done it all.


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