TL 9000 Project Planning (3): Risk Management

In our last two articles, we discussed the major milestones for your TL 9000 project implementation and how to plan the intervals necessary to complete the project on time.  In this article we will cover risk assessment and management relating to your project plan.

Someone once said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.”  Chances are that won’t actually happen to you as the project planner, but barriers come up and it is best to anticipate as many of them as possible.  TL 9000 actually has a risk management requirement that relates to project planning, so this is a great exercise in applying the technique.

You can probably make a pretty good list of risks yourself, but you certainly cannot address them all.  Therefore, you should engage key managers and process owners in risk assessment.  I’m sure you will have engaged them as you developed the plan.  Now is the time to reengage them to “shoot holes” in it.  You can use brainstorming for this activity in order to encourage a free-flow of ideas.  However, if you choose to orchestrate the risk assessment, consider these minimal risks along with others that are raised by the team:

•    Holidays and non-work days
•    Shift schedules impact on accessibility of participants
•    Availability of resources to complete process and procedure work
•    Availability of resources for training, consulting and internal auditing
•    Availability of registrar and other auditors
•    Approvals of necessary expense and/or capital spending

Once you have a list of the risks, determine the best strategy to mitigate them.  Let’s take one of the examples above.  If there are capital dollars required for a new system, or modifications to an existing one, you will need to carefully consider the approvals needed, whether you can reasonably expect to receive approval and how long this will take.  If input from key participants working second or third shift is needed, how will you obtain approval?  If everyone is already stretched to the max with their regular work, how will they help move the project forward?

All of these considerations should be made.  Once you’re convinced you have a good handle on risk management-finalize the plan, distribute it and keep it current and relevant.  We’ll provide some tips on how to do this next week.  If you need more detailed assistance with TL 9000 risk management planning, please contact