Capital Project Management Risks

Capital projects, whether they are concerned with energy, transport, building etc are all highly complex and volatile ones for the Project Manager to deal with. The ever burgeoning number of health and safety issues, the threat of labor problems, dealing with environmental aspects all mean that your skills in risk assessment and management will always need to be at their keenest throughout the life of the project.

Have a good governance structure.

To cope with all the demands of the risks you and your project will be exposed to it is absolutely essential to have a good governance structure in place. No matter how big, costly or complex your project might seem, having a good governance structure in place will clearly establish responsibility for dealing with risks at both the operational and management levels which should, in turn and under your leadership, ensure that risk assessments are compared and integrated across the project allowing you to be confident that one risk assessment decision doesn’t have a negative effect on another one.

Risk modelling.

Are you comfortable assessing high risks?
The good governance described above is to help you to perform your job, however, others in the project will also need to be able to refer to your findings and decisions, even though at the beginning of the project that might not seem necessary. To ensure that any risk assessments are open to all you need to create a Risk Register. In this you will include information such as what risk analysis procedures were applied, what risks were found, which risks manifested themselves and how well they were the dealt with, compared to the risk analysis. Needless to say, the larger the project the larger the risks and so to accurately assess potential risks you'll need to compare your risk estimates against actual data. For example, when considering what are the fire risks in a building project – don't just think what might happen, research what has actually happened in recent/similar projects. Capital projects are inevitably high risk ones due to the high finances needed to fund them. As the Project Manager, if you uncover a risk that is simply too high to contemplate – you must have the confidence to advise the project owners that your best advice would be to not proceed until that risk was satisfactorily reduced/overcome.