Outsourcing Risk Response Planning
Many organizations struggle with the development of risk response plans. Often they ignore this important step altogether. The reasons for this are numerous, but mostly involve the desire to avoid tying up scarce project resources in the development of a plan the project hopes to never use. So why don’t organizations out-source this effort?
The benefits of doing so are clear. By out-sourcing risk response planning, the organization obtains an “out-sider’s” perspective on what might be possible. This avoids the problem of “risk-response-elimination-by-concealment,” where project teams may not propose practical risk response plans that are contrary to their unit’s objectives (but in line with the project’s objectives). This method allows all ideas access to consideration. It also provides an avenue for organizational learning by exposing the project team to new ideas and solutions. And finally, it frees up the critical resources with the most domain knowledge to secure the “happy path” of the project plan.
Arguments against outsourcing this function would include questioning the appropriateness of the response plans obtained from an outside organization who may not understand the culture or strategic objectives of the project. Both of these elements are vital to the development of sound response plans. This method would also require some effort from the SMEs (subject matter experts) to provide information to the consultants doing the work. Therefore, they are not completely freed up as one might think.
In the end, we believe this method may have merit, and requires careful consideration before undertaking it. Well-considered review and communication processes which are aligned with project objectives and culture are needed for its successful implementation.
How would you out-source your risk response planning?