Risk Management Plan: Selling It To Executives

Dick Billows, PMP
Dick Billows, PMP
CEO 4pm.com

Regardless of its size,  you always have to sell the benefits of the risk management plan to the sponsor and stakeholders. But they’ll often be hostile.  That’s because they aren’t convinced that spending money on risk management improves the odds of finishing on time and within budget.  They may see risk management as a waste of time and money. Risk Management Main Page

You should never start your risk management presentation by boring your audience with the list of 63 negative risks that could adversely affect the project and 27 positive risks that could let you finish earlier and spend less money. You also shouldn’t present the results of your qualitative or quantitative risk analysis; no matter how proud you are of them.  That type of presentation will only convince your audience that you have wasted both time and money.

Risk Management Plan Presentation: How To Do It

In the first 60 seconds of your presentation, you should acquaint your audience with one or two significant risks and the impact those risks could have on the project. Let’s take a simple project and see how you might start the presentation.

“Good afternoon. I’m here to talk with you about our supply room project. The goal is to reduce the number of complaints from our employees. Last year, we averaged 53 complaints per month. Our goal is to reduce it to less than 3 per month. The major deliverables that will lead to achieving that goal are:

First, that 95% of the time employees can find the supplies they need in less than 60 seconds.

And second, that fewer than 3 items each month are out of stock.risk management plan presentation

We see two problems that could make it difficult or impossible for us to deliver that goal. The first problem is that the people who stock the supply room will not use the new, more efficient design which we will produce during the course of the project. We need an incentive so they don’t return to their old habits and recreate the same mess we have today. To avoid that problem, we would like to add a performance criteria to their job descriptions and annual performance reviews. It will require people to maintain the supply room design by restocking supplies in the specified locations.

The second problem is that employees will not know where to look for the supplies they need. If that happens, the complaints about the new design may be higher than the current complaint rate. To avoid that problem, our design will place the most frequently needed supplies (those that account for 80% of the withdrawals) near the supply room entry. We will also print and distribute a supply room crib sheet and map to all employees. We will also have a large-scale copy of the crib sheet and map on the supply room door.

If you approve this risk management plan, I believe we can completely avoid both problems.”

Taking this simple and direct approach to presenting your risk management plan is almost always more successful than a presentation that drowns your audience in data or complex statistics. Instead of all the numbers, you discuss the problems, the consequences and your remedy. Plus you do it in just a few minutes.

If you want to enhance your presentation skills, consider our online Presentation and Negotiation Skills course.  You work individually with your instructor at your pace. They’ll coach you with techniques for improving the content and media of your presentations as well as your speech and body language.

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Author: Dick Billows, PMP

Dick has more than 25 years of project and program management experience throughout the US and overseas. Dick was a partner in the 4th largest professional firm and a VP in a Fortune 200 company. He trained and developed 100's of project managers using his methodology. Dick is the author of 14 books, over 300 articles and director/producer of 60 short project management videos. He and a team of 25 project managers work with client companies & students across the US and in Europe, South America, Asia and the Middle East. They have assisted over 300 organizations in improving their project performance. Books by Dick Billows are on Amazon.com