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Program risk management

The following article is a sample from the full BVOP™ Ultimate Guide and is part of the preparation for the BVOP™'s modern Agile Certified Project Manager Program.

Program risk management may include:

  • Risk identification of all projects
  • Risks prioritization
  • Potential project risk influencing other projects
  • Risk avoidance planning
  • Risk owner assignment

Risk identification of all projects

High-level or detailed risk identification for all projects of the program may require the prediction of possible risks that may occur during projects realization and post projects realization stages.

The risk may be detailed with the participation of all project management roles if there are multiple roles assigned to the program.

The risk can be divided into separate themes (risk items) and added to a common project risk list for the entire program.

Risk identification for all projects can be carried out in advance, and if multiple teams work on multiple projects simultaneously.

If teams work on projects, consequently, detailed risk identification can be carried out consequently as well. Still, initial and high-level risk factors (items) need to be identified in the early stages.

Project risk management details are included in the Business Value-Oriented Project Management (BVOPM) section.

Risks prioritization

Risk items may be prioritized, so topics (items) that are most likely to occur are placed on top of the program risk list. They require more observations, discussions, prevention planning, and efforts during the realization of the project.

Potential project risk influencing other projects

The BVOP suggests that risk that may impact other projects needs special attention. Such risks need to be identified, highlighted, and need higher-order in the risk list (the collection of all risk items). 

Participation of all teams intended to work on potentially affected by the same risk projects, and their management roles are required for planning risk-avoiding.

Risk avoidance planning

Every risk needs an avoidance plan. The avoidance plan for each risk item is defined by the management roles assigned to the project with the participation of team members who have direct relevance to the risk item.

Risk owner assignment

Each risk item needs an assigned owner that is usually an individual or multiple individuals working on the project, specific tasks of the project, or have needed competence and knowledge about the subject related to the risk. 

Risk owners observe early risk symptoms of their assigned risk items, predict risk occurrence, try to avoid it, collaborate with project management roles, and other key roles and stakeholders for avoiding or minimizing the risk impact.

A risk that may influence multiple projects has multiples owners assigned from each project that may be impacted.

The Business Value-Oriented Project Management section introduces detailed Project risk management principles and practices that may be applied on a program level as well.

Program Risk Management, Projects Risk identification, Risks prioritization
BVOP Community Reviews
  1. Fabron Ambroise, BVOP Program Director

    A common mistake of many beginners and not so beginners in project management is to confuse program risk with project risk.

    In this guide, everything is very well explained, but I still want to point out the differences. I suppose many of those who are now in the craft will benefit from re-detailing.

    Project risk usually involves all risks that relate to one project that one or several teams work on. Results from the development of this single project are expected.

    Program risk, in turn, includes the possible risks that concern all projects that an organization is planning or developing. This naturally means taking into account risks associated with many projects, many different teams. Sometimes there are many related external stakeholders. The more projects, teams, resources, and external factors are linked to the organization's program, the greater the chances of risk exist.

    Program risk is supposed to be defined only at high-level. No precise details can be provided at this stage and scale of work anyway.

  2. Deborah Lopez, BVOP BVOPGM™

    A high-risk project can harm the whole program. In addition to time and financial deviation, risk can also cause failure throughout the program. An unsuccessfully developed project, if it is strongly linked to the others, can lead to failure in all implementations.

    If there is a high probability of failure of a high-risk project, careful consideration for starting the whole program may be a factor in avoiding major critical losses.

Comments of our guests
  1. Donovan Thomas
    It is true that program risk is not a project risk. This is risk management at the organization level. You are responsible for huge budgets, teams, customers, and outsiders. The only way to deal with this heavy responsibility is to involve as many participants as possible in your projects. All project managers are required to participate. It is clear.
  2. J. Collino
    Hello everyone, BVOP is really something very interesting and new. As far as I understand, this topic here is not a classic project management risk management. It is on a program level. Is that correct? Do you plan to publish ideas about the interactions between the project manager and the program manager? Thanks in advance
  3. BVOP™
    Dear J. Collino, Thank you for your comment and question. You understand correctly that the topic posted here concerns program-level risk. For the relationship between project management and program management roles, we may recommend that you look through the entire BVOP ™ Ultimate Guide and pay special attention to the Offices specifics section. Kind regards
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