Welcome to Episode 4 of my new video program – “Can We Talk About Your WordPress Projects?” where we are exploring all things project management related to WordPress projects.
In the last episode we talked about Client Management. Today’s episode addresses whether you should be managing issues and risks and what a good Risk Management Plan and Issues Management Plan looks like.
In the last couple of episodes and in this episode, and maybe in one or two more, what we’re covering are those standard plans and processes that your agency (or you as an individual provider) need to have in place to have a good solid project management approach for your WordPress projects.
So far we’ve talked about Acceptance Management, Client Management, and today we’re going to talk about Issues and Risk Management.
Why You Need to Manage Risk and Issues
Now some people might feel like well that’s just overkill for a really small WordPress project and it might be. But here’s why you might want to consider having a risk management and an issues management plan in place all the time… It’s because it helps you get better at what you’re doing. If you track the risks and how you mitigated them or you track the issues and how they were handled, then you can keep those things from happening in the future.
Risk vs. Issue
Now first let me explain the difference between a risk and an issue. A risk is something that might happen and you plan for that upfront, including how you are going to mitigate the risk. An issue is when something occurs during the course of your project that needs to be dealt with. So that’s how they’re different.
Let me give you an example. An example of a risk might be that the client may not get their content delivered on time because they’re super busy… and they have a business to run… and they probably overestimated their ability to get the content done. And I could go on and on about that. But THAT is actually a risk to every single project. So it makes sense to list that in your proposal to the client and say, “this is a risk and if this risk occurs here’s what’s going to happen.”
You might decide to put the project on hold if the client doesn’t meet their dates. You might decide to charge a penalty. However you deal with the client not complying with the agreed upon schedule, then that’s what would go in your risk management plan.
Then, for issues, you need to have a plan… and by putting this in your proposal then the client knows that you’re not just going to gloss over these things. The client will know that if an issue arises, you’re going to document it and then you’re going to document how you’re going to deal with it and you’re going to work with the client on how you’re going to deal with it.
An example of an issue might be that one of your developers was in an accident and so they can’t they can’t finish the project and you can’t find another one just like him. So you’re having to use a junior programmer. That’s an issue and it may have an impact to the schedule and it may have an impact to the cost but that’s something that occurred during the project not something you could have foreseen upfront.
So if you can foresee it upfront it’s a risk and you should mention it and figure out how you’re going to manage it and if it’s an issue you need to keep track of all those things and how you address the issue so that you can plan for them in the future.
Elements of a Good Risk or Issues Plan
Now the elements of a good risk plan or a good issues plan are pretty much the same.
- Who’s going to be able to identify a risk or an issue
- Who’s going to make the final decision on how they’re handled
- Where are they going to be documented
That’s the three basic elements of a good risk plan and a good issues plan. There are others but those are the primary ones.