Travelling to work during the Games
Managing risk is essential not only on projects, but as part of the routine activities for any business. London is only a few weeks away from its largest ever sporting event – the Olympics. Millions more journeys will be undertaken during the event on London’s creaking transport infrastructure. If it’s not already happened, businesses need to start assessing the risks associated with the Games now.
Risks are uncertain events that may or not happen at some time in the future, so businesses need to think ahead and ask “what if?” some uncertain event were to occur, what would its impact would be, and what can we be done about it. Let’s look at each of these steps in turn to see how it could be applied to the Olympics.
1. Identifying the risk
Firstly, let’s look at identifying the risk itself. Good project management recommends identifying a risk in terms of its underlying cause, the event itself, and its impact were the event to occur. In terms of understanding the root cause of the risk, then the increased demand for transport due to the Olympics is the cause.
What is the uncertain event that may occur? Well, there are lots, but let’s just focus on one – that staff may not be able to get to work on time.
What will be the effect? Well, this is for each business to consider, in particular, the effect on its daily ‘business as usual’ operations, its customers, suppliers and deliveries. For example, if your business is a shop, what would the effect be if the shop were unable to open on time due to staff delays in travelling to work?
2. Assessing the risk
After identifying the risk in this way, the business needs to assess the risk in 3 ways: its likelihood to occur, its impact if it does occur, and its proximity (i.e. when in the future is it likely to occur). Based upon information provided by (the now-defunct website) getaheadofthegames.com, if your business is near to an Olympic venue, then the likelihood is probably going to be high. The impact of the risk will depend upon the nature of the business itself. For example, a shop might consider the loss of sales due to delayed opening. The proximity is the easiest of all to quantify because this will be between 27th July and 12th August.
3. Planning your response
The third step would be to plan one or more responses. These might be one or more of the following:
- Avoid the risk – this means taking steps to prevent this risk occurring. One way of avoiding it might be to for the business to shut down during the Games period and to force staff to take a holiday but this is likely to have a very negative effect on the business.
- Reduce the risk – this means taking steps to reduce either the probability or the impact. One possible way of reducing probability would be to ask staff to retime their journeys to work, setting off 30 minutes earlier than usual. This will reduce the probability of them being late.
- Accept the risk – this means doing nothing other than hoping for the best i.e. keeping your fingers crossed.
- Transfer – this means reducing the financial impact e.g. by taking out insurance against the risk.
- Fallback – this means having a ‘plan B’ in place which is only executed if the uncertain event were to occur e.g. if a supplier is unable to deliver because staff are not there to accept the deliver, then re-schedule the delivery.
4. Implementing the response
The fourth step is to implement the chosen responses and to monitor their effectiveness. Responses should be changed if they are not having the desired effect.
The fifth and final step is to communicate via reports to the decision-makers in your business so that the responses can be changed if required.
Risk management will not necessarily remove the risk entirely but it can certainly reduce the overall effect of the risk.
If you enjoyed the cartoon, please consider sharing it using the buttons below! You are free to share this cartoon or to add it to your website providing you link back to the Knowledge Train site. If you wish to link to this cartoon, you may simply copy and paste the embed code below and add it to your website.