Is it a risk or is it your job?

No one dares to see the risks
No one dares to see the risks

One of the challenges of a project manager is to deal with risks. But is risk the main thing? I think not! What are risks and isn?t it just part of live? Part of your job? I think the emphasis on risk in building projects is for bad managers doing a lousy job and for clients not daring to be a client. Don?t start with a risk discussion but start doing your job!
Last week during DCM course we had long discussions about risk analyses, risk management, risk assessment etc. And also this week discussing organisations it was again about risks. Of clients seeking organizational models to share risks (alliance) to mitigate risks (DBFMO) to get rid of risks at the expense of others. Let?s put the whole discussion on risks into perspective.
I have the feeling that we over-emphasize risk related stuff and I think this is not necessary. This is not only the case in the building industry but I see it everywhere. And it leads to fear and bureaucracy, not only in public administration and politics but also in industry, business, finance etc. It seems that everyone is afraid and fear is blocking freedom and free thinking!
I would like to suggest that we first improve our performance and then discuss about the risks left over. First do your job (as a manager or a client) and then start a discussion about the risks. If there are any left!
Let me give an example.
We discussed the schedule of the Vondelpark Pavilion and the preparations that are needed to write good and complete building specifications. (I know; ?as complete as possible??.) The assumption is that if your building specifications are good (or excellent!) the process of the refit is clear, the price (given by the contractor) is right and the chance for change orders minimized. To make excellent specifications you need to do research. UPFRONT. We discussed asbestos, measurements, research on structure, foundation, brickwork, roofing, woodwork, paintwork etc. The message is: be as complete as possible to give the contractor the information to make a good plan and a good price.
Or course there is always the risk that something was forgotten, that by checking the building you overlooked something, by measuring it all you made a mistake. No problem, that?s life! At least you did a terrific job! And after that you are able to deal with changes, with change orders, with disappointments, with second thoughts of your client, with mistakes of the architect and so on. But that is not a risk that is life and part of your job of being the manager.
Risks are for lousy managers not for good ones. Good ones deal with it!

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