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Risk Management and the PMO

In last week’s #PMOwfh we tackled the subject of risk management – a pretty big subject we’ll admit but it’s actually the first time we’ve ever done a PMO Flashmob session on it.
We framed the session first of all with HotPMO‘s John McIntyre when he took us through 10-in-10 – that’s 10 slides in 10 minutes – on the UK government’s risk management plans in relation to public health and COVID-19. A depressing case that sparked a series of questions that we can all ask of ourselves, the PMO and the wider organisation.
In this session, we share the 10-in-10, take a look at those questions, share the outputs from the PMO Flashmobbers on what they’ll start-stop and continue doing in relation to risk management and share another viewpoint on the whole subject in relation to PMO.
Let’s get started with the 10-minute video session first:

Ten in Ten – Risk Management

Here’s John to get us started:

And here are those questions again:
Risk Management and the PMO


We love a bit of Stop-Start-Continue for helping to draw out what our PMO Flashmobbers thought about risk management in their own PMOs and organisations. Do we focus on the negative first and talk about what we’d like to stop doing first before getting all positive about what we’ll start?
Either way, we start here with the stop doing and here’s a classic – the people Vs the process argument. As the PMO, do we still focus too much on the process and not enough on the conversations where we challenge mitigation plans and assumptions?
Start-doing always brings out more than any of the other two categories and I like that! In this one, an observation about how we seem to be pretty good at being able to score the impact side – but pretty rubbish on the likelihood and mitigation side. If we know that, why not focus more on the bits we’re rubbish at? Just an idea.

And on the Continue-doing, this is where we know we’re doing alright, so if you look at this list and you can pinpoint some areas where your PMO is also inline with them, you’re doing a pretty good job. On the flip side, if you look at the list and can’t say your PMO or organisation aren’t already doing these, add them to your Start-doing.
As ever with these sessions, they’re perfect for replicating with your own PMO team meetings. You can take a look at the Agile focused one to help you create your own Stop-Start-Continue session.

Another Way of Looking at it

Most of the breakout sessions were generic about risk management but there were a couple of groups with different viewpoints. Here’s the Start-doing of one group specifically related to the pandemic:

  • What is the impact of Covid-19 – the question asked to all projects.
  • The cost impact of these risks
  • Delivery impact (timescales etc.)
  • Compilation of portfolio view of the impact of Covid-19 across the portfolio – Impact effect is dependent on the industry – some industries far more affected than others. Within industries, some types of projects dramatically affected, other projects not at all
  • Workload re-prioritisation
  • Impact on the business continuity plan as a result of Covid-19
  • Every organisation has to think again about putting a BCP in place
  • Report risks monthly – become more strict.
  • For some projects ‘re-factor’ risks.


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